CAIRO: Egypt needs $700 million a year to maintain roads, more than the $70 million currently paid annually, World Bank Regional Director Hartwig Schafer said in a Tuesday press statement.
The state-run MENA reported Schafer said, “Every kilometer of the Egyptian road network is only maintained every 33 years… every $1 spent now on road maintenance will save Egypt $5 in five years.”
Schafer’s comments are even more prescient given the growing number of road accident deaths. The number of people who died in these accidents in 2013 was 13,000 and 60,000 were injured, according to the latest statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO).
This is in comparison to 2007, when only 7,000 people died and 23,000 were injured from such accidents, Samy Mokhtar, the head of The Egyptian Association for the Care of Victims of Roads and Their Families, told The Cairo Post.
Schafer said that Egypt needs to fund the maintenance of roads through fuel taxes, vehicle fees, traffic fines and road tolls.
He added that the human and emotional toll of poorly maintained roads is high, and Egypt incurs economic losses estimated at $7 billion a year due to the “road safety crisis.”
For his part, Mokhtar suggested that the government also needs to pay to raise knowledge about road safety. “The government needs to adopt a full budget to raise social awareness, especially since Egypt pays about 17 billion EGP on road accidents, yet we don’t pay one pound to raise awareness.” he said.