These agreements, especially those that are free trade areas or customs unions, have their own deeper integration programs that they will continue to pursue. Intra-African trade continues along several tracks. As the AfCFTA progresses and consolidates, there should be more policy convergence and simplification of rules. The Kigali Summit found areas of agreement in the areas of trade protocols, dispute settlement procedures, customs cooperation, trade facilitation and rules of origin. This was part of Phase I of the agreement, which includes the liberalisation of goods and services. An agreement was also reached to reduce tariffs on 90% of all products. Each nation can exclude 3% of goods from this agreement.  AU Trade Chief Albert Muchanga said in a July 2019 tweet: “Officially confirmed! Benin signs an agreement on the AfCFTA at the Special Summit in Niamey and becomes the 54th signatory State. Happy developing! The following figure explains the structure of the agreement establishing the AfCFTA. Fast forward to today. The African Union had previously set the year 2063 as the deadline to reach the “United States of Africa”. Leaders recognized that there are no shortcuts to this ambitious vision.
In introducing the AfCFTA, African leaders recognized that continental challenges require continental responses. Indeed, the agreement is a confirmation that responsibility for Africa`s future rests in their own hands – collective action at a time when global headwinds are increasing. It is difficult for Nigerians not to shy away from the government`s lackluster response to the signing and ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) (see Africa Foresight: Top Priorities for the Continent in 2019). The AfCFTA was introduced in March 2018. To date, 52 of the 55 countries have signed the agreement and 18 have ratified it. Twenty-two countries must ratify the agreement for it to enter into force. That a heavyweight like Nigeria is visibly on the sidelines at a time when the momentum towards continental integration is gaining momentum is staggering. Hartzenberg expects some of the 11 candidate countries to sign the agreement at the next AU summit in June 2018. .