Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari signed the landmark agreement at the African Union (AU) summit in Niger. The first step is 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.