The African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement entered into force on 30 May 2019 for those countries that had deposited their instruments of ratification before this date.
According to Article 23 of the Agreement, entry into force occurs 30 days after the 22nd instrument of ratification is deposited with the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) – the designated depositary for this purpose – an essential step for the AfCFTA to enter into force.
On 29 April 2019, Sierra Leone and the Saharawi Republic deposited their instruments of ratification with the depositary, paving the way for the AfCFTA’s entry into force. Since then, five countries have deposited their instruments of ratification: Zimbabwe, Burkina Faso and São Tomé and Príncipe, with Gabon and Equatorial depositing their ratification instruments during the 12th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union on the AfCFTA in Niamey, Niger on 7 July 2019, marking the launch of the operational phase of the AfCFTA Agreement.
The 27 countries that have deposited their instruments of AfCFTA ratification with the AUC Chairperson are Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Niger, Chad, Congo Republic, Djibouti, Guinea, eSwatini (former Swaziland), Mali, Mauritania, Namibia, South Africa, Uganda, Ivory Coast (Côte d’Ivoire), Senegal, Togo, Egypt, Ethiopia, The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Saharawi Republic, Zimbabwe, Burkina Faso, São Tomé and Príncipe, Gabon and Equatorial Guniea.