Intra-Africa trade stands at about 16 percent of the continent's total, compared with 19 percent in Latin America and 51 percent in Asia, according to the African Union.
The areas listed include sectoral and systemic issues, as well as the "aggregated and granular effects" of the new free trade deal for Nigeria's "fiscal, structural and monetary policies".
The global context, marked by "a worrisome weakening of multilateralism" and the principles of solidarity among peoples, make the execution of this flagship project crucial, said AU Commissioner Moussa Faki Mahamat on Monday.
The AU Commission Chairperson implored those who have not joined the treaty on air transport and other agreements on the free movement of goods and services to do so, recalling some of the speeches of founding fathers like Ahmed Ben Bella, Kwame Nkrumah and others on the importance of the African economic free trade area.
Once the free trade area is established, the ambition is to take further steps that echo the creation of the European Union - like a customs union, a common market, and even a single currency, says Matthew Davies, editor of the BBC's Africa Business Report.
He added: "The promise of free trade and free movement is prosperity for all Africans, because we are prioritising the production of value-added goods and services that are "Made in Africa" he said".
African Union (AU) Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat (L) and Chairperson of the AU Executive Council and Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo talk at an AU executive council meeting in Kigali, Rwanda, on March 19, 2018.
To enter into force, the agreement must be ratified by 22 countries.
"As Africa's largest economy and most populous country, we are committed to ensuring that all trade agreements we sign are beneficial to the long-term prosperity of the continent", Buhari had said in a statement.
"Some countries have reservations and have not finalised their national consultations".
"If there is no reward for compliance and there is no punishment for non-compliance, then it is going to be a very nice agreement without any teeth or any legs", he said.
Only 15% of African exports go to other African countries. She said if African countries want to significantly increase intra-African trade, they must address practical challenges such as burdensome regulations, access to finance by the private sector, infrastructure networks and simplification of customs processes.
The AfCFTA could create an African market of over 1,2 billion people with a GDP of $2,5 trillion, the pan-African bloc said.