The overall objectives of the agreement are: Eritrea has not signed due to tensions with Ethiopia, but after the 2018 Eritrea-Ethiopia summit, the AU Trade and Industry Commissioner now expects Eritrea to sign the agreement.  As of July 2019, 54 of the 55 African Union states had signed the agreement, with Eritrea the only country not to sign the agreement. Of these Member States, 27 have tabled their ratification instruments.  On 21 July 2018, five other nations, including South Africa, signed the agreement. At the time, the Nigerian government stressed that its non-participation was a delay, not a withdrawal, and promised to sign the agreement quickly.  As the Minister of Foreign Affairs had previously pointed out, the Nigerian government intended to continue its discussions with local businesses to ensure the purchase of the agreement by the private sector.  In March 2018, three separate agreements were signed at the 10th African Union Special Session on AfCFTA: the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, the Kigali Declaration; and the protocol on the free movement of people. The Protocol on the Free Movement of Persons aims to create a visa-free zone within AfCFTA countries and to support the creation of the African Union passport.  At the Kigali Summit on 21 March 2018, 44 countries signed the AfCFTA, 47 signed the Kigali Declaration and 30 signed the protocol on the free movement of persons. Although a success, there were two remarkable holdouts: Nigeria and South Africa, the two largest economies in Africa.    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.  South Africa, Sierra Leone, Namibia, Lesotho and Burundi have since signed the AfCFTA at the 31st African Union Summit in Nouakchott.  Since July 2019, 54 states have signed the agreement.  After the Kigali Summit, further signatures were affixed to 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 into force, and it happened on 29 April 2019, when Sierra Leone and the Arab Democratic Republic of the Sahara ratified the agreement.  As a result, the agreement came into force 30 days later on 30 May 2019; At that time, only Benin, Nigeria and Eritrea had not signed.