Co-operation between African countries on the issues of road regulations and traffic laws are to be intensified following discussions held at the African Ministers' session at the World Road Congress.

Co-operation between African countries on the issues of road regulations and traffic laws would be intensified following discussions held at the African Ministers' session at the World Road Congress, the Department of Transport's deputy director of media relations, Ndivhuwo Mabaya, said on Tuesday.


One of the goals of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad) was to address issues of transport on the continent, Mabaya said, and it had been decided at the African Ministers' session that countries would need to follow up the integration of respective networks with the "harmonisation of traffic law enforcement".


"In other words, drivers who travel across national borders should adhere to the same road rules and regulations as in their country of origin," Mabaya said. "Road signs, speed and vehicle weight limits and importantly, rules governing road use, should be similar throughout the Southern African region, for example".


In terms of rural road development on the continent, respective national transport departments would need to assist local authorities to develop integrated road programmes that they could implement themselves, the South African Minister of Transport Dullah Omar said.


There was no simple remedy for the problem of traffic congestion in urban regioms, Omar said, "but in South Africa's case, improvements to the rail and public transport system is a better alternative than building extra roads".


Issues relating to the spread of HIV/Aids via countries' road networks would also receive attention, the Minister said, adding that the South African government intended to provide ongoing education and counselling to drivers (employed by transport operators, for example) who were either exposed or affected by the disease.