Nigeria has signed the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement to increase trade between African countries.
This leaves Eritrea as the only African country not to be part of the trading block.
President Muhammadu Buhari signed the landmark agreement at the African Union (AU) summit in Niger and the first step will be to cut tariffs for goods from countries within the bloc but the timeframe to do this is yet to be announced.
At the moment, African countries trade only about 16% of their goods and services among one another, compared to 65% with European countries, reports AFP news agency.
The AU estimates that implementing the African Continental Free Trade Area – called AfCFTA – will lead to a 60% boost in intra-African trade by 2022.
It also says that AfCFTA will create the world’s largest free trade area. With Nigeria signed up, AfCFTA’s dream of increasing intra-Africa trade, which currently lags behind the volume of trade the continent does with Europe, is now one step closer.
Now that AfCFTA can offer access to the enormous Nigerian market, they are in a much stronger position to negotiate with regional bodies in other parts of the world.