African leaders have agreed to create the continent’s largest free-trade zone, covering 26 countries in an area from Cape Town to Cairo.
The deal, signed in Egypt, is intended to ease the movement of goods across member countries which represent more than half the continent’s GDP.
Since the end of colonial rule, governments have been discussing ways to boost intra-African trade.
The poor state of roads, railways and airlines have made it difficult.
Three existing trade blocs – the Southern African Development Community (Sadc); the East African Community (EAC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) – are to be united into a single new zone.