Trucks wait in the long queue to cross the river over the Kazungula bridge in  Botswana, May 10, 2021. Photo Monirul Bhuiyan/AFP

Regional integration helps countries overcome divisions that impede the flow of goods, services, capital, people and ideas. The World Bank has described these divisions as a constraint to economic growth, especially in developing countries.

“The idea is that by having a larger market, there is more built-in flexibility in terms of sourcing and selling different goods and crops, while better physical connections can make it easier and cheaper to move goods around,” Dr Bruce Byiers, the head of programme for African institutions and regional dynamics at the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM), told Africa in Fact.

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Kinshasa-born Issi Sikita da Silva is an award-winning freelance journalist. Winner of the SADC Media 2010 Awards in the print category, he has travelled extensively across Africa and lived in South Africa for 18 years, where he worked in the media industry for 10 years. He is currently based in West Africa.