Forty-four members of the African Union have signed a break-through accord on trade, launching what will be, in terms of participating countries, the world’s largest regional trading bloc.  It’s quite an accomplishment, especially given the sheer economic and political diversity of the continent’s  countries—and it’s needed since countries reportedly only do about 16% of their business with one another.  There are still some hurdles, though, with Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, has yet to sign.  Similarly, South Africa has yet to sign, though the country’s new president has expressed his commitment to the agreement once domestic legal and political processes are undertaken.

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