Africa should seek an economic unity that transcended borders laid down in the colonial era, President Jacob Zuma told Ugandan Members of Parliament on Thursday.
Addressing Parliament during his State visit to the East African nation, he said that common markets were far more effective at bringing countries together than common declarations.
"As we seek unity at a political level as Africans, we must acknowledge that lasting unity must necessarily involve the economic integration of our continent," he said.
Africa's economic development was constrained by the borders that colonialism had imposed on it.
"We have to overcome lines drawn on a map; lines that reflect more the differences between the nations of nineteenth century Europe than between the peoples of today's Africa," Zuma said.
"We must draw our own lines on the map. These should be lines that represent roads, railways, electricity lines, pipelines, fibre-optic cables."
Africans should be able to invest in each other's economies, and draw on each other's skills and expertise.
The continent was rich in minerals, produce and people, yet it remained very poor.
"It is only by uniting our peoples, by pooling our resources, and combining our efforts, that we will overcome this devastating legacy."