At the time, the Nigerian government stressed that its non-participation was a delay and not a withdrawal, and promised to sign the agreement soon.  As previously pointed out by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Nigerian government intended to continue to consult with local companies in order to obtain private sector agreement.  The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement creates the largest free trade area in the world in terms of the number of participating countries. The pact associates 1.3 billion people in 55 countries with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) worth $3.4 trillion. It has the potential to lift 30 million people out of extreme poverty, but harnessing its full potential will depend on the implementation of important policy reforms and trade facilitation measures. Nevertheless, the AfCFTA will face a number of challenges before it can be considered a success. The agreement has been ratified by twenty-two African countries, but its implementation will be gradual, with countries continuing to negotiate collective agreements, rules of origin and obligations for the services sectors. . . .