Streamline investment and fully exploit established industries to promote production efficiency and harmonize trade policy, investment incentives and product standards to promote the Community as a single investment sector. Roberto Echandi is the senior private sector specialist at ETIRI. It focuses on research and policy advice on issues related to cross-border trade in services, negotiations, implementation and maximizing the potential benefits of deep integration trade agreements and the AfCFTA negotiation and implementation process. In 2011, the ABC signed framework agreements with the United States and China to stimulate/encourage commodity exchanges, business market visits and investment cooperation. “THE ABC is a driving force in Africa and shows best practices in implementing trade facilitation reforms,” said Dr. Kituyi. “The ABC secretariat has played a leading role and I am confident that this will continue for smooth implementation, both nationally, regionally and ultimately at the continental level.” “UNCTAD has been supporting the institutional architecture of trade facilitation in the East African region for many years,” said Dr. Kituyi. “For example, we have helped launch trade portals, simplify trade procedures and reduce the time and cost of business transactions in Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda, and soon tanzania.” Forty-four countries initially signed the agreement on March 21, 2018.
Nigeria was one of 11 African Union countries to avoid signing the treaty. At the time, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said Nigeria could do nothing to undermine local producers and entrepreneurs.  The Nigerian Manufacturers` Association, which represents 3,000 Nigerian manufacturers, welcomed the decision to withdraw from the agreement.  Nigeria`s foreign minister tweeted that more internal consultations are needed before Nigeria can sign the agreement.  Former President Olusegun Obasanjo said Nigeria`s delay was regrettable.  The Nigerian Labour Congress called the agreement a “renewed, extremely dangerous and radioactive neoliberal political initiative”, suggesting that increased economic pressure would push workers to rush into difficult and precarious conditions.  The Kigali Summit found areas of convergence with trade protocols, dispute settlement procedures, customs cooperation, trade facilitation and rules of origin. This was part of Phase I of the agreement, which deals with the liberalisation of goods and services. There was also a consensus on reducing tariffs to 90% of all goods. Each nation can exclude 3% of the goods from this 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.  In order to facilitate the implementation of the free trade area, the following institutions were created.