The obstacles to deeper African integration are great, but the potential gains for development and poverty reduction warrant a sustained effort to overcome these challenges. High trade barriers between countries have been reflected in trade that is more oriented toward distant markets than neighbouring African countries – it is often easier for Africans to trade with the rest of the world than with each other. The potential exists for greater intra-African trade in ways that would have significant, positive impacts on the lives of millions living in poverty. Barriers to intra-regional trade need to be tackled, along with complementary efforts to ensure that the poorest people can access the opportunities created. The World Bank Group is working in a number of different areas to support this effort and is ready to do more.
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