Inaugural Hart Schafer Road Safety Award

April 24, 2024

On Wednesday, April 24, the inaugural Hart Schafer Road Safety Award was presented to the World Bank-financed Bangladesh Road Safety Project. The award was presented during a moving ceremony honoring the late Hart Schafer -- former World Bank Vice President for the South Asia Region and a passionate road safety champion.

World Bank Senior Managing Director, Axel van Trotsenberg, presented the inaugural award to the 2024 winner. Guangzhe Chen, World Bank Vice President for Infrastructure, and Martin Raiser, World Bank Vice President for the South Asia Region, also provided remarks at the ceremony, reflecting on Hart's legacy and emphasizing the need to increase investment in road safety.


2024 Winner: Bangladesh Road Safety Project

Crashes on Bangladesh’s roads claim the lives of about 25,000 people and disable another 200,000 each year. Over the past three decades, the increase in Bangladesh’s crash fatality rate has been roughly three times that of the broader region. Recognizing this growing problem, the Government of Bangladesh committed itself to improving the dire situation on the country’s roads.

The $358 million Bangladesh Road Safety Project is the World Bank’s first stand-alone and multisectoral road safety project in South Asia, and the largest that the World Bank has ever approved. The investment is specifically designed to support Bangladesh with a comprehensive and long-term national program to improve road safety.

As the Regional Vice President of South Asia, Hart Schafer was instrumental in preparing the investment. The project already serves as a model for other World Bank-financed road safety investments.


About the Hart Schafer Road Safety Award

To honor the late Hart Schafer and his passion for road safety, the Hart Schafer Road Safety Award was established in 2023 to recognize excellence in advancing road safety financing and innovation.

The award will be presented to a World Bank task team and government counterpart agency each year, and is managed by the World Bank's Global Road Safety Facility.


Hart Schafer Award Logo

About Hart Schafer

Hart Schafer Portrait

A Distinguished Career

A German national, Hartwig (“Hart”) Schafer held numerous technical and managerial positions in the World Bank as well as the European Commission for over 35 years.

In his most recent role, Hart served as the World Bank’s Vice President for the South Asia Region from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2022. In managing the World Bank’s engagement in the region, heled relations with Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, managing a portfolio of financial support worth more than $50 billion.

Before joining the South Asia region, Schafer served as the Vice President for Global Themes where he oversaw the World Bank Group’s engagement in corporate priority areas of Fragility, Conflict and Violence (FCV), Gender, Infrastructure, Public-Private Partnerships, Guarantees, Climate Change, and Knowledge Management.

Previously, Schafer served as the World Bank’s Country Director for Djibouti, Egypt, and Yemen in the Middle East and North Africa Region. He was Director for Strategy and Operations in the Sustainable Development Network. Schafer also worked as Director for Operations and Strategy in the Africa Region, Country Director for Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe and Chief Administrative Officer in the Africa Region.

Hart tragically passed away in May 2023 just months after retiring from the World Bank.


A Passion for Road Safety

Throughout his career, Hart demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the issue of global road safety. Under his leadership, he championed the implementation of comprehensive road safety programs in South Asia, leveraging the World Bank's influence to prioritize infrastructure enhancements, public awareness campaigns, and policy reforms.

His specific efforts included fostering partnerships with local governments and stakeholders to enforce safer speed limits, enhance road design, and improve overall transportation systems. Through his strategic vision and hands-on approach, the World Bank made significant strides in advancing the cause of global road safety, leaving a tangible and positive impact on communities throughout the South Asia region and beyond.

Read more about Hart’s distinguished career.