An early July 2018 African Union summit is to be held in the nation of Mauritania. A specific focus of the summit is the ratification of a massive free-trade deal within the African continent. Additional goals include tackling corruption in the national governments, and the promotion of fair and free elections. 

Cameroon, Mali, Zimbabwe, and the Democratic Republic of Congo all have elections scheduled in the latter half of 2018. Currently, the president of the African Union is the Rwandan President Paul Kagame. He is scheduled to introduce the promotion of a free-trade deal. Earlier in 2018, 44 of the 55 AU members signed a resolution for the establishment of a free-trade area in Africa. 

As of now, only 16 percent of the exports that African nations ship arrive in other African nations, a notably small amount of regional trade as compared to other regions on the globe. The free-trade agreement would remove 90% of the tariffs, with provisions for a phase out of the final 10%, many of which are considered “sensitive items”. The area to be covered under the free-trade agreement has an annual GDP of over $2.5 trillion USD, and over 1 billion people, if all 55 member nations agree to be participants. Notably absent in the March resolution were the signatures of Nigeria and South Africa. Also within the resolution is to include the free movement of people within the free-trade area as well as the introduction of a single currency.

Al Jazeera