It is not yet clear how the current negotiation process will proceed. The objective of the creation of a single African free trade area under the aegis of the African Union could certainly give the impression that the result will be a unique instrument of African liberalisation in which each country will present its offer of liberalisation to all other members of the African Union before negotiating a single agreement on that basis. This would be consistent with the WTO approach. But it already appears that the process will not develop in this way. 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.   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.  On July 21, 2018, five other nations signed the agreement, including South Africa. At the time, the Nigerian government stressed that its non-participation was a delay, not a withdrawal, and promised to sign the agreement quickly.  As the Minister of Foreign Affairs had previously pointed out, the Nigerian government intended to continue its discussions with local businesses to ensure the purchase of the agreement by the private sector.  Several committees have been established for trade in goods, trade in services, rules of origin, remedial measures, non-tariff barriers, technical barriers to trade, and health and plant health measures.  Dispute resolution rules and procedures are still being negotiated, but should also include the appointment of a dispute resolution authority.  The Committee of Senior Trade Officials implements the Council`s decisions. The Committee is responsible for the development of programmes and action plans for the implementation of the AfCFTA agreement.
 The agreement was negotiated by the African Union (AU) and signed on 21 March 2018 by 44 of its 55 member states in Kigali, Rwanda.   The agreement first requires members to remove tariffs on 90% of goods, allowing free access to goods, goods and services across the continent.  The UN Economic Commission for Africa estimates that the agreement will boost intra-African trade by 52% by 2022.  The proposal is expected to enter into force 30 days after ratification by 22 of the signatory states.  On 2 April 2019, The Gambia became the 22nd state to ratify the Convention and on 29 April, the Sahrawi Republic tabled the 22nd filing of ratification instruments; The agreement entered into force on 30 May and entered its operational phase following a summit on 7 July 2019.  Moreover, the concept of the „entry into force“ of afCFTA in Europe, where it is understood a little differently, has given rise to misunderstandings.