Most AU member states have signed the agreement. Benin, Botswana, Eritrea, Guinea-Bissau, Nigeria and Zambia did not sign the agreement.  Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari was particularly reluctant to join if it against Nigerian entrepreneurship and Nigerian industry.  On 7 July 2019, Nigeria and Benin pledged to sign free trade with Africa at the 12th Special Session of the Association`s Assembly on ACFTA; Eritrea is the only country among the 55 member states of the African Union that has not signed the agreement.   In 1963, the Organization of African Unity (OAU) was founded by the independent states of Africa. The aim of the OAU was to promote cooperation between African states. The 1980 Lagos Action Plan was adopted by the organization. The plan proposed that Africa minimize its dependence on the West by encouraging intra-African trade. It began with the creation of a number of regional cooperation organizations in different parts of Africa, such as the Conference on the Coordination of Southern African Development.
Finally, in 1991, this led to the Abuja Treaty, which founded the African Economic Community, an organization that encouraged the development of free trade zones, customs union, an African Central Bank and a common African monetary union.   44 countries first signed the agreement on 21 March 2018. Nigeria was one of 11 African Union countries that avoided the signing of the treaty. At the time, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said Nigeria could do nothing to undermine local producers and entrepreneurs.  The Nigerian Manufacturers` Association, which represents 3,000 Nigerian manufacturers, welcomed the decision to withdraw from the agreement.  Nigeria`s foreign minister tweeted that more internal consultations are needed before Nigeria can sign the agreement.  Former President Olusegun Obasanjo said Nigeria`s delay was regrettable.  The Nigerian Labour Congress called the agreement a „renewed, extremely dangerous and radioactive neoliberal political initiative“, suggesting that increased economic pressure would push workers to rush into difficult and precarious conditions.  In order to facilitate the implementation of the free trade area, the following institutions were created. As a result of the Phase II negotiations, additional committees may be set up through minutes.  At this summit, Benin and Nigeria signed the agreement, so that Eritrea is the only African state not to be part of the agreement; Since then, Eritrea has applied to join the agreement.
Gabon and Equatorial Guinea also tabled their ratifications at the summit. At the time of launch, there were 27 states that had ratified the agreement.     The SAfCFTA secretariat is responsible for coordinating the implementation of the agreement and is an autonomous body within the AU system.