ADDIS ABABA, June 19 (Xinhua) -- African foreign ministers are set to meet in Niamey, capital of Niger early next month to discuss the implementation phase of the imminent African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) ahead of African leaders' summit, the African Union (AU) said on Wednesday.
Foreign ministers of the 55 AU members, who make up the AU's Executive Council, during their meeting from July 4 to 5 in Niamey, are expected to put forward recommendations on the continental free trade pact for consideration to the upcoming 12th Extra-Ordinary Summit of African heads of state and government, which is slated for July 7, the AU said in a statement.
Chairperson of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, said that the AfCFTA has been the fundamental dream of the AU towards Africa's social and economic integration.
The AfCFTA, which was signed by 44 African countries when it was launched in Kigali, capital of Rwanda, in March 2018, aspires to create a tariff-free continent that can grow local businesses, boost intra-African trade, spur industrialization and create more jobs.
The AfCFTA is also regarded as the world's largest free trade zone by the number of countries, covering more than 1.2 billion people, with a combined gross domestic product of 2.5 trillion U.S. dollars.