Geography causes african countries to experience a ‘proximity gap’. To overcome this gap requires regional cooperation in four main areas: transport infrastructure, trade facilitation, decentralization and local economic development, and migration – each with implications for transport. Because incentives for regional cooperation in these aspects may not be symmetrical, commitments made may not be credible. Therefore, transport infrastructure at least should be bound in world trade organisation rules on trade facilitation to provide third party enforcement. Incentives for cooperation could also be improved with transport corridor design and collective peer pressure by landlocked countries. Regional cooperation could be supported by the international community with aid, the assurance of full implementation and adherence to international law on the rights of landlocked countries to transport to the sea, the extension of appropriate trade preferences to african regions and ensuring consistency of international agreements and trade preferences with current regional integration initiatives.