Egypt should invest more in modernizing its roads and railways if it wants to bring down the shockingly high number of accidents and fatalities.
Transport Minister Hatem Abdelatif stunned the nation on 13 January when he revealed that road accidents kill as many as 10,000 people every year. (Arabic).
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates road accident fatalities to be even more, at 12,000 a year. Egypt has a road traffic fatality rate of 42 per every 100,000 people, compared with 5.2 per 100,000 in Sweden, 7.2 in Finland and 25.2 in Russia, WHO says.
At a seminar in Cairo on 28 and 29 January, transport experts said Egypt’s road network needed redesigning, with more markings and better lighting, and traffic rules needed to be enforced.
Dubbed "Transport Infrastructure Egypt 2013", the seminar sought to shed light on the challenges of, and solutions to, improving road and rail safety in Egypt. It also aimed to involve the government in its discussions and make recommendations.
“We are in dire need to overhaul everything, including the policies,” Khalid Abdel Azeem Abbas, head of the National Institute of Transport, told IRIN.
By investing in road and railway safety, experts said, the government would save some of the billions of Egyptian pounds it spends each year treating accident victims and replacing vehicles, trains and track.
The World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology in 2008 estimated the economic loss to Egypt from road crashes at nearly US$1.8 billion per year.