Nigeria says it will sign the pan-African trade deal, known as the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, at an African Union extraordinary summit in Niger on Sunday.
President Muhammadu Buhari said on Twitter that he agreed to the deal “after extensive domestic consultations”.
AfCFTA is aimed at removing barriers to trade, like tariffs and import quotas, allowing the free flow of goods and services between its members.
Forty-four AU members signed up in March last year, but Nigeria, one of the largest economies on the continent, was holding out.
At the time the government said there were concerns that Nigeria could become a dumping ground for goods not manufactured in Africa.
Now President Buhari says that the position of the country is “very simple”, adding that “we support free trade as long as it is fair and conducted on an equitable basis”.
Ambassador Albert Muchanga, the AU’s trade commissioner, welcomed Nigeria’s move on Twitter:
The deal also needs to be formally ratified in each country and so far 25 countries have done so, meaning that the deal can come into legal force.