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Works and Transport Minister John Mutorwa says Namibia's road safety efforts must be supplemented by continued research and benchmarking to ensure the safety of road users. 

Mutorwa's speech was presented at the three-day Annual Road Safety Conference at Ongwediva. His remarks came against the backdrop of a decrease in road fatalities.

The conference being held under the theme 'Improving Road Safety Performance Management' is attended by local and international industry players.

According to the World Health Organisation, low- and middle-income countries, which account for about 60% of the world's motor vehicle accidents, are responsible for 93% of road deaths globally. 

Crash data analysis for the past four years indicates a glimmer of hope as the number of fatalities in proportion to the number of crashes has reduced by 4% from 18% in 2019 to 14% in 2023. 

"The fatalities per 10,000 vehicles have also been reduced by 32%, from 15.2% in 2019 to 10.3% in 2023. Injuries per 100,000 populations, on the other hand, have also decreased by 59%, from 250.5 in 2019 to 101.5 in 2023."

Mutorwa added that fatalities have been on a downward trend, recording a 30% reduction from 609 in 2019 to 423 in 2023. 

He urged the participants to ensure that they chart strategies during the conference to minimise road crashes. 

"In order to ensure that Namibian road safety efforts are in line with international best practices, continuous research and benchmarking are necessary for building a proper body of knowledge for the subsector. Policies, regulations, and laws must be aligned with current trends for them to be effective."

The annual road safety conference is a platform created to provide feedback on what has been done since the previous conference, assess, review, and report to the country's people on road safety performance.

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Ndapanda Shuuya