African leaders set to sign landmark trade deal at AU Summit

  1. African Countries will officially sign a African Continental Free Trade Area agreement at an African Union(AU) summit in Niger.
  2. The agreement aims to create a single unified market for the continent’s 1.3 billion people and to boost economic development.
  3. The plans for the free trade zone received a boost when Africa’s largest economy,Nigeria became the 25th country to ratify the trade agreement.
  4. The goal of the new free trade area is to significantly increase trade within Africa.Currently,African countries conduct only 16% of their trade with each other, compared to 65% among European countries.
  5. African Union is a pan-Africa continental union consisting of 55 countries.Its structure is loosely modelled on that of European Union.It is headquartered in Addis Ababa,Ethiopia.
  6. It was founded in May 2001 in Addis Ababa,Ethiopia and launched in July 2002 in South Africa.It had replaced Organisation of African Unity (OAU).
  7. The objective of AU is to (a)achieve greater unity and solidarity between the African countries and Africans (b)to defend the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of its Member States and (c)To accelerate the political and social-economic integration of the continent.