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In an exclusive interview with Capital FIA President Jean Todt said road traffic accidents cause a significant loss of human and economic resources in the country.
Todt, who is also UN Special Envoy for Road Safety urged Ethiopia to put this issue at the top of the agenda and work towards realizing it.
Even though the country has been successful in expanding the road transportation network, the East African nation is among the countries with a large number of road crash deaths because of the poor attitude and safety culture of road users, he said.
The President is in Ethiopia to participate in the annual motor congress here in Addis Ababa. Jean Todt thanked the hosts, the Ethiopian Motor Association for their hospitality and its President, Ermias Ayele, and FIA Vice President Surinder Thatthi, for their extensive organizational work in the run-up to the event.
“The first aim of this Congress is the development of your clubs, and with that, the practice of motor sport in your countries. This is a priority for the FIA in this zone” – said Todt while opening the conference- “With few international events and few people practicing the sport, your clubs must face greater problems than elsewhere to develop their projects. This is why the FIA wishes to support you, in particular via the FIA Sport Grant Programme.”
Over the past two years, almost a million Euros has been granted to the African ASNs to support their activities and for the development of grassroots motorsport. For example, this included contributing to the creation of the Young Driver Academy in South Africa and the Karting Academy in Mozambique, as well other initiative linked to karting in Rwanda, Senegal and Uganda.
Todt stressed the need to develop in the field of karting, the first step especially for youngsters, which actually requires relatively limited resources in terms of investment and infrastructure. That is why Africa is one of the FIA regions chosen to develop slalom karting and why Ethiopia itself has been selected as the pilot scheme ASN for the continent. A first demonstration of this sport took place at the end of the day’s Congress business.
FIA President Jean Todt also met with Ethiopian President Mulatu Teshome to discuss ongoing efforts to improve road safety standards in the African country.
Acting as both FIA president and the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety, Todt’s meeting with President Mulatu covered both the Sport and Mobility aspects of the Federation’s work, with the two men discussing both the development of African motorsport and methods of reducing the number of road-related accidents and fatalities in Ethiopia.
The Ethiopian Motor Sports Association has secured a karting toolbox, and the ASN will use the kit to demonstrate that karting can be a tool for learning – in addition to being a tool for racing – while also creating an opportunity to seek out local talent with a potential for climbing the motorsport ranks.