The World Bank Group and World Trade Organization (WTO) have announced plans to co-operate in helping developing countries to reduce trade barriers.

The organisations have pledged to assist developing countries to use trade facilitation programmes, which aim to reduce the barriers they face in moving goods quickly and cost-effectively.

The programmes work by increasing port efficiency, improving customs and regulatory environments, and upgrading infrastructure.

“Our own research tells us that African countries are missing out on opportunities for billions of dollars in extra export earnings because of existing trade barriers,” said World Bank Group president Jim Yong Kim.

“Trade Facilitation was one of the important elements of the outcome from the Bali Ministerial and we remain fully committed to supporting implementation of the Bali deal as we see the development benefits of reducing costs to trade.”

The announcement comes after the WTO launched its Trade Facilitation Agreement Facility in July, designed to help developing countries implement the Trade Facilitation Agreement and agreed by WTO members at Bali in December last year.