Road safety essential to boost economic growth: WB


To continue sustainable economic growth, Bangladesh must take urgent steps to improve better road safety, the World Bank said on Tuesday.

The WB leaders made the statement while five winning teams of the World Bank-United Nations Road Safety Champions’ Video Competition were awarded On Tuesday in Dhaka.

The competition sought the ideas for making Dhaka’s roads safer from young Bangladeshis between the ages of 18-23 and received an overwhelming response.

World Bank Vice President for South Asia, Hartwig Schafer said, “Road fatalities are more than personal tragedies, they undermine a country’s growth and human development. Like other countries, by improving road safety, Bangladesh can further reduce poverty and accelerate economic growth.”

While congratulating the winners, Schafer added, “We all are very impressed with the creative, practical and scalable solutions for Dhaka’s road safety proposed by the contestants."

These ideas are a testament that road safety crisis is preventable, he said, adding that, the World Bank and the United Nations will continue working together with the Government of Bangladesh to improve road safety.

The World Bank and the government of Bangladesh are discussing a $250 million possible support for comprehensive road safety improvement.

Mercy Tembon, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan said, "Road safety affects us all. With increasing number of motorized vehicles, road accidents have become the fourth leading cause of death of children between 5 and 14 in Bangladesh."

"So, road safety is very much a development agenda and we must act now,” she said.

The competition was launched in September 2019 by the Honorable Finance Minister A H M Mustafa Kamal, MP, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety Mr. Jean Todt, and Hartwig Schafer.

Mia Seppo, UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh said, "SDG target 3.6 seeks to halve road traffic deaths and injuries by 2020 and SDG target 11.2 includes a focus on providing safe, sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety and with special attention to key groups such as children and the vulnerable."

"This joint UN and WB initiative reached out to young people to find unique ideas and solutions from their fresh perspective through the video competition," she said. 

"I congratulate all the young people who took part in this video contest. Your ideas contribute to the effort to find sustainable solutions and make the roads safer for all of us," said Mia Seppo.

Schafer, Tembon and Seppo handed out certificates and prizes to the winners at the World Bank’s Dhaka Office.

The contest called for participants to submit a video within 2-minutes duration with a befitting title to respond to the question, “What would you change to make the roads in Dhaka safer?”

A five-member panel of judges included Korvi Rakshand, founder of JAAGO Foundation, Iqbal Habib, Architect and Joint Secretary of Bangladesh Environment Movement (BAPA), Ayman Sadiq, founder of 10 Minutes School, Dandan Chen, World Bank Operations Manager for Bangladesh and Bhutan, and Dr Mahfuzul Huq, Technical Officer, World Health Organization.

Key themes that emerged from the contest included: introducing separate bus lanes, mobile apps, smart buses, under-the-surface barricade system, speed camera, and limiting the number of bus trips and random parking to take or drop passengers through digital means.