Free trade agreements with countries and regions outside Africa remain possible, in accordance with Article 4 of the afCFTA protocol on trade in goods, provided they do not „impede or compromise“ AfCFTA`s objectives. To achieve concrete results, it will also be necessary to enable the private sector to take advantage of the new market opportunities that result from them. This means information about markets and often to improve the competitiveness of the industry. To attract investment, whether local, regional or from third countries, African countries must continue to improve framework conditions and facilitate trade. The G20 Pact with Africa (CwA) and the European Investment Plan for Third Countries (as part of the Africa-Europe Alliance) provide a framework that should be used to support these efforts. Given that the Nigerian government continued to consult with local business groups in the second half of 2018, one of the main concerns was whether the agreement adequately prevented anti-competitive practices such as dumping.  At the close of 2018, former President Olusegun Obasanjo said the delay was „regrettable“ and stressed the lack of trade in goods between African countries, the difficulties in getting from one African country to another, and the colonial legacy of these restrictions on Africa`s growth.  The government steering committee responsible for the consultation process is expected to release its report on the agreement in January 2019.  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. The African Union (AU) followed in 2002 and one of its objectives is the economic integration of the continent.  A second objective was to „coordinate and harmonize policies between existing and future regional economic communities in order to gradually achieve the Union`s objectives“.  The question of whether ratification of the AfCFTA agreement means that the European Union should enter into negotiations with the African Union for a trade agreement between the EU and the AU to succeed the existing EPAs has already been debated in Germany.
At present, such negotiations would not be possible or useful. And the African side is not incentivized, as most countries in sub-Saharan Africa already have completely free access to EU markets. This applies not only to all countries participating in the EPAs, but also to all LDCs that benefit from unilateral EU trade preferences. South Africa and North African countries already enjoy wide duty-free access for industrial products. Nevertheless, Jean-Claude Juncker, when he was President of the European Commission, said that the European Union would be open to trade negotiations with the African Union once the AfCFTA was completed, if Africa wanted it. As such, the European Union has shown the necessary political will to which Africa can return. But we can`t expect it at this time. The World Bank report, The African Continental Free Trade Area: Economic and Distributional Effects, aims to help policymakers implement policies that can maximize the potential benefits of the agreement while minimizing risks.
Creating a continental market requires resolute efforts to reduce all business costs. Governments also need to develop strategies to increase the willingness of their workforce to take advantage of new opportunities. After the Kigali summit, more signatures were added for the AfCFTA. At the African Union summit in Nouakchott on 1 July 2018, five other nations, including South Africa, joined the agreement. Kenya and Ghana were the first nations to ratify the agreement and file their ratifications on 10 May 2018.  Of the signatories, 22 had to ratify the agreement in order for it to enter