Washington: South Asia needs more political will to embrace regional trade cooperation for the benefit of the lagging region, said a senior World Bank official.
Isabel Gurrero, the World Bank's vice president for the South Asia region, said Thursday that South Asia was one of the least integrated regions in the world, and more connectivity within the region can alleviate poverty and promote prosperity.
He made the remarks at a seminar as part of warm-up events for the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, scheduled to kick off Friday in Washington D.C.
Teresita Schaffer, former US ambassador in Sri Lanka, said that India and Pakistan should "put rivalry in the box" and break down trade barriers, which can help increase the odds of regional peace.
She also noted thatb trade can be a solution as well as a problem, since usually trade frictions increase with the volume.
Others said although there seemed to be some resistance to change, internet technology development like Facebook and Twitter had abridged the gap which was artificially created by visa and telecommunications blackout.
It was "political vision" that was missing in the regional integration, pointed out Gowher Rizvi, director of Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation of the Harvard University.
First Published: Friday, April 20, 2012, 13:34