NIAMEY, July 7 (Xinhua) -- Gabon and Equatorial Guinea on Sunday deposited instruments of ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement to the African Union (AU) Commission.
The two countries submitted the documents during the opening session of the 12th Extraordinary Summit of the AU Heads of State and Government, in Niamey, capital of Niger.
The continental free trade pact came into force on May 30 after the deposit of the required minimum of 22 instruments of ratification by AU member states to the AU Commission.
Five more instruments of ratification, including the latest two from Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, have since been deposited, bringing the total number of countries that have deposited their AfCFTA ratification to the AU Commission to 27.
The historic AfCFTA accord, which was launched on March 21 last year in Kigali, capital of Rwanda, on Sunday officially commenced its operational phase.
Also on Sunday, Nigeria and Benin signed the agreement establishing the AfCFTA, leaving Eritrea as the only country of the 55-member African Union that has not signed onto the accord.