On 21 March 2018,  in Rwanda, the following African countries signed the Agreement Establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) at the 10th Extraordinary Session of the African Union Assembly on the Launch of AfCFTA. The goal of the AfCFTA is to create a single market, followed by free movement and a single currency union. It is understood that the AfCFTA will be “built” in stages and will have protocols (such as Trade in Goods, Trade in Services, Intellectual Property Rights; Investment and Competition) and annexes added to it. Once all documents are concluded and ratified by 22 states, the free trade area will formally exist.

Notably absent was Nigeria, one of Africa’s largest economies and its most populous country. Using Twitter, Nigeria’s President Buhari said that “We will not agree to anything that will undermine local manufacturers and entrepreneurs, or that may lead to Nigeria becoming a dumping ground for finished goods.” Although South Africa did not sign the AfCFTA text, it is committed to signing once internal legal processes are completed.


Scheduled Signing


AfCFTA Consolidated Text Kigali Declaration

Free Movement Protocol

Algeria Prime Minister

Angola Head of State

Benin Minister of Foreign Affairs

Botswana Minister of Trade

Burkina Faso Minister of Foreign Affairs

C.A.R. Head of State

Cameroon Minister of Finance

Cape Verde Minister of Industry, Trade and Energy

Chad Head of State

Comoros Head of State

Congo Head of State

Cote d’Ivoire Vice President

D.R.C. Minister of Foreign Affairs

Djibouti Head of State

Egypt Minister of Trade and Industry

Equatorial Guinea Prime Minister

Ethiopia Minister of Trade

Gabon Head of State

Ghana Head of State

Guinea Minister of Foreign Affairs

Kenya Head of State

Lesotho Prime Minister

Liberia Minister of Foreign Affairs

Libya Minister of Foreign Affairs/Head of State

Madagascar Minister of Foreign Affairs

Malawi Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mali Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mauritania Head of State

Mauritius Minister of Foreign Affairs

Morocco Prime Minister

Mozambique Head of State

Namibia Minister of Industrialization

Niger Head of State

Rwanda Head of State

Saharawi Republic Head of State

São Tomé and Principe Minister of Finance and Trade and Blue Economy

Senegal Head of State

Seychelles Vice-President and Minister of Foreign Affairs

Somalia Minister of Foreign Affairs

South Africa Head of State

South Sudan Minister of Foreign Affairs/ cabinet Minister

Sudan Head of State

Swaziland Prime Minister

Tanzania Prime Minister

The Gambia Head of State

Togo Minister of Foreign Affairs

Tunisia Minister of Foreign Affairs

Uganda Minister of Foreign Affairs

Zambia Minister of Foreign Affairs

Zimbabwe Head of State


44 47