Africa’s leaders are expected to gather in Rwanda Wednesday to launch what they say will be the world’s largest free trade area in terms of countries.
Establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) with 55 African Union members having a cumulative GDP of $2.5 trillion is one of the AU’s flagship projects.
Muhammadu Buhari, president of one of Africa’s largest markets Nigeria, this week canceled plans to attend the Kigali launch and called for more consultations after business leaders objected to joining the free trade area.
“The signature of the CFTA is something that makes Africa look good on paper, but for implementation it’s going to have a lot of hiccups,” according to Sola Afolabi, a Nigeria-based international trade consultant.
Some 27 heads of state are expected to attend the Kigali meeting. It is still unclear who will sign on to the CFTA right away.