In early July, heads of state on the African continent met in Niger’s capital where the nation signed to be the latest partner in a continent-wide free trade zone.
The African Continental Free Trade Area aims to create a single unified market that is estimated to be worth $3.4 trillion U.S. and serves 1.3 billion people.
Even though many African nations have mini-trade agreements between countries, only 16% of African countries trade with one another, compared to the 65% in Europe.
Prior to Niger’s signing, Nigeria signed on as the 25th nation to ratify the agreement. According to media reports, 54 African countries out of 55 have signed a general agreement to be a part of the trade zone. Only Eritrea has declined due to a long standing conflict with Ethiopia. With the signing of a new peace accord with Ethiopia, Eritrea has asked to join trade talks.
Some of the details that have to be worked out in the agreement include building up roads and highways for transportation of goods and border restrictions.
The headquarters and timeline of when trade will start have yet to be announced.