Overall, Africa needs to take several steps to boost trade, such as promoting skills for entrepreneurship and providing greater access to credit and capital. Economic and political leaders will need to think creatively about continental joint ventures in order to establish powerful production and manufacturing networks across the continent. But with its cooperation from 1 July 2020, this huge African market has great potential to be a new engine of growth across the continent. On July 21, 2018, five other nations signed the agreement, including South Africa. At the time, the Nigerian government stressed that its non-participation was a delay, not a withdrawal, and promised to sign the agreement quickly. [57] As the Minister of Foreign Affairs had previously pointed out, the Nigerian government intended to continue its discussions with local businesses to ensure the purchase of the agreement by the private sector. [58] Negotiations for Phase II began in February 2019. These negotiations will include protocols on competition, intellectual property and investment. Negotiations on Phase II issues are expected to conclude in 2020. [25] [32] Indeed, since the creation of the World Trade Organization, Africa has been home to the world`s largest free trade area, with almost all the countries on the continent having joined (Figure 1).

While global trade rules are being eroded in other regions, China and the United States are leading to a trade war and influence is strengthening protectionistly in many countries, Africa has the opportunity to create a trade buffer for itself. Since all countries are in a broad negotiating unit, it will have had much more power than before. The Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement will create the largest free trade area in the world in terms of the number of participating countries. The pact connects 1.3 billion people in 55 countries for a total gross domestic product (GDP) of $3.4 trillion. It has the potential to lift 30 million people out of extreme poverty, but achieving its full potential will depend on the introduction of meaningful political reforms and trade facilitation. Israel Osorio Rodarte is an economist in the Department of Trade and Regional Integration at the World Bank. He has more than 10 years of experience in international development, including economic diversification, structural change and analysis of the distribution of trade and macroeconomic policies. In 1963, the Organization of African Unity (OAU) was founded by the independent states of Africa. The aim of the OAU was to promote cooperation between African states. The 1980 Lagos Action Plan was adopted by the organization.

The plan proposed that Africa minimize its dependence on the West by encouraging intra-African trade.