The president of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, has called on African countries to foster economic integration by breaking down the various barriers that hinder trade.
Kim, who has served as the 12th President of the World Bank since July 2012 was speaking at the opening of the joint meeting of the IMF and the World Bank.
African countries still have much to do to increase intra-regional trade estimated at about 12%. This is in comparison to the trade between Africa and Western Europe which is estimated at more than 50%.
Regional trade integration has long been a strategic objective for Africa but despite some success in eliminating tariffs within regional communities, the African market remains highly fragmented.
A range of non-tariff and regulatory barriers still raise transaction costs and limit the movement of goods, services, people and capital across borders throughout Africa.
The World Bank has long maintained that Africa has enormous potential that is untapped and which could deliver poverty reduction and development gains.