Nigeria and Benin Republic have signed African trade pact alongside the continent’s heads of state at the African Union (AU) Summit, in Niger on Sunday.
President Muhammadu Buhari and Benin’s President Patrice Talon signed the agreement at the summit in Niamey, where the zone will officially be launched.
Buhari on Sunday gave the endorsement in Niamey, Niger Republic, making Nigeria the 53rd state on the continent to append its signature to the document.
President Buhari signed the agreement around 10.48 am local time, as the first event at the opening of the 12th Extra-Ordinary Summit of the African Union on the launch of the Operational Phase of the AfCFTA.
Muhammadu Buhari had delayed in signing the agreement to give room for extensive consultations with stakeholders.
The Presidential Committee on Assessment Impact and Readiness had submitted its report last week.
The committee had recommended that Nigeria should sign the agreement.
So far twenty four countries have already ratified the AfCFTA which is expected to be the world’s largest free trade area since the formation of the World Trade Organization with a potential market of 1.2 billion people and a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $2 5 trillion, across all 55 member states of the African Union.