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.  The success of the CFTA will also depend on the ability of NICs to streamline their respective free trade agreements in order to align themselves with a future CFTA. One of GASTA`s key objectives will be to seize the opportunities that have hitherto failed in terms of regional integration, trade facilitation and similar issues that have tormented the African continent as a whole with tangible progress on these fronts. Synergy between bilateral and regional trade agreements and GASTA is essential for regional and continental integration to have a long-term impact.
Asmita Parshotam unpacks the European agreement aimed at accelerating integration and economic development. An intergovernmental trade agreement signed by Canadian ministers that came into force on July 1, 2017. Its goal is to reduce and remove as much as possible barriers to the free movement of people, goods, services and investment within Canada and to create an open and stable internal market. The overall objectives of the agreement are: The 12th African Union Extraordinary Meeting on AfCFTA was convened to bring the new agreement into its operational phase, which was held in Niamey on 7 July 2019.   Alignment with international commitments GASTA is more in line with Canada`s commitments under international trade agreements such as the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). This reduces compliance costs for Canadian companies that do business both domestically and internationally. GASTA also needs a buy-in from all AU Member States, including its smaller and less developed economies. Any agreement implemented must take into account the needs of its smaller members and its economic centres of strength: small countries must feel responsible for GASTa, which reflects their interests. Given that the Nigerian government continued to consult with local business groups in the second half of 2018, one of the main concerns was whether the agreement adequately prevented anti-competitive practices such as dumping.
 At the close of 2018, former President Olusegun Obasanjo said the delay was “regrettable” and stressed the lack of trade in goods between African countries, the difficulties in getting from one African country to another, and the colonial legacy of these restrictions on Africa`s growth.  The government steering committee responsible for the consultation process is expected to release its report on the agreement in January 2019.  44 countries initially signed the agreement on 21 March 2018.