- 44 countries have signed
- Nigeria, South Africa did not sign
Lagos, Nigeria (CNN)The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) has been signed by 44 African countries at a summit of the African Union in Kigali, Rwanda.
10 of the African Union's (AU) 55 member states did not sign the agreement.
The summit was a step forward for the AU's 2063 project for closer African integration, with 27 member states also signing a commitment for the free movement of persons.
The AfCFTA has the potential to bring over 1.2bn people together into the same market. The bloc of 55 nations would be the largest in the world by member states.
African leaders signed the agreement that is predicted to boost intra-African trade. If successful, it will be the biggest trade trade agreement since the formation of the World Trade Organization in 1995.
By reducing barriers to trade, such as removing import duties and non-tariff barriers, African countries hope to boost intra-continental business.
The AfCFTA could improve trade between African countries, which in 2016 estimates stated accounted for only 10%.