• President Muhammadu Buhari signs the African Continental Free Trade Area.
  • Only Eritrea is left to join the trade pact in Africa - largest in terms of participating countries since the formation of the World Trade Organisation.
  • African Union members are expected to release policy document for the operational phase out of the agreement at the Niger summit.

Nigeria has joined signatory to the African free trade pact at the opening of the 12th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of African Union Heads of State and Government in Niamey, Niger Republic.

Muhammadu Buhari, the Nigerian President, signed the landmark document at the summit as members discuss ways to operationalise the free trade pact. 

The agreement seeks to cut tariffs within the bloc, boosts trade, eliminate border barriers and create the world's largest free trade area.

The Benin Republic also signed the trade deal. With the latest signatures, this means that 53 countries have now signed on to the African Continental Free Trade Area, leaving only Eritrea.

African Union members are expected to release policy document for the phase out of the agreement at the Niger summit where some outstanding issues including arbitration measures, tackling corruption, will be addressed.

Delegates at Africa Union summit in Nigeria (Twitter/Ali A. Mufuruki‏)
Ali A. Mufuruki
Delegates at Africa Union summit in Nigeria (Twitter/Ali A. Mufuruki‏)

The AfCFTA, launched on March 21 2018 in Kigali. It is regarded as the largest in the world in terms of participating countries since the formation of the World Trade Organisation. UNECA estimates it will boost intra-African trade by 52% by 2022 while AU projects 60% trade boost by the same year.