Kigali - President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday said that his government needed more time to consult relevant stakeholders about the continental free trade area treaty before signing it.
Ramaphosa did not sign the crucial agreement at the African Union (AU) Extraordinary Summit in Rwanda's capital Kigali - only signing the declaration on the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
AfCFTA is aimed at deepening African economic integration, promoting agricultural development, food security, industrialisation and structural economic transformation through single-air continental transport market with free movement of persons, capital, goods and services.
The agreement is reported to have the potential to create a unified market of $1.2 billion and a GDP of over $25 trillion.
A total of 44 countries signed the AfCFTA, while 27 signed the protocol to the treaty establishing the African economic community relaying to free movement of persons.