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Cooperation Brings Solutions
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Regions and sub-regions in both Africa and Asia face trans-boundary challenges where countries have to work together to find satisfactory solutions.


In the water sector, the Mekong and Nile river basins are good examples of a common resource that can be harnessed for development through cooperation across countries.


The same is true for research in agriculture. The successful regional collaborative research efforts that led to the Green Revolution in Southeast Asia have contributed tremendously to increase agricultural yield and thus prevent food shortages in Asia.


In the area of regional health challenges, both Asia and Africa face similar challenges, for example, the spread of the bird flu virus, which can be met only through regional cooperation.


In addition, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has emerged as one of the most successful regional organizations in the developing world, attributed with ensuring regional stability.


It has also served as a mechanism of regional and economic development by promoting free regional trade under the ASEAN Free Trade Area (FTA).


A number of regional organizations in Africa, such as Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and Southern African Development Community (SADC) are also implementing Preferential Trade Areas (PTAs), and this session will provide Africa and Asia the opportunity to share experiences.


Finally, an important determinant of Asia's economic performance has been its dedicated and careful investment in infrastructure.


More needs to be done in order to meet Africa's infrastructure financing needs, both through increased financing which the Commission for Africa estimates at about US$20 billion and regional cooperation.


The need for regional cooperation in Africa is very important, given that many of the poorest countries in Africa are landlocked and small and their economic development depends on increased cooperation with their neighbors.


(AfDB May 15, 2007)


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