The Executive Council of the African Union has accepted Ghana’s bid to host the secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), a source within the Ghanaian delegation at the ongoing AU Summit in Niamey, Niger has said.

According to the source, the decision has been recommended to the Heads of State and Governments for approval on Sunday, July 7.

Leaders at the African Union summit in Niger will also set a date for trading to begin in the African Continental Free Trade Area, a deal that 52 of the continent’s 55 states have signed, although only 25 have ratified it.

The bloc aims to ultimately remove trade barriers and tariffs between members.

The agreement is aimed at creating a single continental market for goods and services with free movement of goods, people and investments, similar to the European Union.

This is expected to eventually unite the continent’s 1.27 billion people and its $3.4 trillion nominal gross domestic product.

Experts say it will boost trade in Africa and strengthen the continent’s position in global trade.

The UN’s Economic Commission for Africa estimates that the agreement has the potential to boost intra-Africa trade by 53%.

Currently, Africa trades far less with itself than it does with the rest of the world.

The African Union says if all countries signed up it would become the largest free trade area since the formation of the World Trade Organization.