The general objectives of the agreement are: The firm said under AfCFTA that Somalia will have the opportunity to sell its products on the continent, attract investment and boost intra-African trade. Initially scheduled for July, implementation of the AfCFTA Agreement has been postponed due to COVID-19. Enditem One of the aggravating factors in the negotiations was the fact that Africa had already been divided into eight separate free trade zones and/or customs unions, with different regulations. [Note 1] These regional bodies will continue to exist; The African Continental Free Trade Agreement aims firstly to remove barriers to trade between the various pillars of the African Economic Community and, finally, to use these regional organizations as building blocks of the ultimate goal of an African-wide customs union.    The 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.   At this summit, Benin and Nigeria signed the agreement, so that Eritrea is the only African state not to be part of the agreement; Since then, Eritrea has applied to join the agreement. Gabon and Equatorial Guinea also tabled their ratifications at the summit. At the time of launch, there were 27 states that had ratified the agreement.     Most AU Member States have signed the agreement.
Benin, Botswana, Eritrea, Guinea-Bissau, Nigeria and Zambia did not sign the agreement.  Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari was particularly reluctant to join if it against Nigerian entrepreneurship and Nigerian industry.  On 7 July 2019, Nigeria and Benin pledged to sign free trade with Africa at the 12th Special Session of the Association`s Assembly on ACFTA; Eritrea is the only country among the 55 member states of the African Union that has not signed the agreement.    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.
 There are also many free trade agreements, including those involving regional economic communities as well as customs and monetary communities. Since the 1991 Abuja Treaty, many free trade agreements have been concluded in Africa under which regional economic communities are the building blocks of the African Economic Community. In fact, it was intended that the tripartite free trade agreement could provide a basis for a continental customs union. By July 2019, 54 of the 55 African Union states had signed the agreement, with Eritrea the only country not to have signed it.