What: Deposit of the instruments for ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCF Nigeria was one of the last nations to sign the agreement). With a population of 200 million, Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and has about 98 million inhabitants in the most populous countries, Ethiopia and Egypt. With a nominal GDP of $376 billion, or about 17% of Africa`s GDP, it is just ahead of South Africa, which accounts for 16% of the African economy. Given that Nigeria is such an important country in terms of population and economy, its absence at the first signing of the agreement was particularly striking. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa highlighted this in his comments of 12 July 2018, commenting: “The continent awaits Nigeria and South Africa. Through trade between us, we are able to maintain more resources on the continent. South Africa signed the agreement later. 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. It began with the creation of a number of regional cooperation organizations in different parts of Africa, such as the Conference on the Coordination of Southern African Development.
Finally, in 1991, this led to the Abuja Treaty, which founded the African Economic Community, an organization that encouraged the development of free trade zones, customs union, an African Central Bank and a common African monetary union.  Africa`s continental free trade area only came into force when 22 of the signatory countries ratified the agreement, which took place in April 2019, when The Gambia was the 22nd country to ratify it.  In August 2020, there are 54 signatories, of which at least 30 have ratified and 28 have tabled their ratification instruments.    The three countries that have ratified their ratifications but have not yet tabled are Cameroon, Angola and Somalia, although Morocco is also ratified.  South Africa, Sierra Leone, Namibia, Lesotho and Burundi have since signed the AfCFTA at the 31st African Union Summit in Nouakchott.  Since July 2019, 54 states have signed the agreement.  Negotiations are under way on Phase I protocols on trade in goods and services with African parties (Member States or REC). Negotiations on Phase I protocols on competition, intellectual property rights and investments are expected to begin at the end of 2019. Eritrea has not signed because of tensions with Ethiopia, but after the 2018 Eritrea-Ethiopia summit, the AU Commissioner for Trade and Industry expects Eritrea to sign the agreement.
 One of the great advantages of AfCFTA for the region will be the removal of trade barriers between Kenya and Ethiopia, the two largest economies in East Africa. Despite previous efforts to deepen economic relations, the volume of bilateral trade between the two remains extremely low. Bilateral trade did not reach $70 million in 2019, representing only 0.5% of Ethiopia`s total exports and 0.09% of Kenya`s exports, mainly consisting of food, live animals and certain industrial products (Table 1).