In a BBC article
it was estimated that the new African free trade zone of 26 countries has a combined GDP of $624bn (£382.9bn).
The coming together of these countries should also help them cope better with the adverse effects of the international economic climate.
This agreement between the leaders of the existing African trading blocks, namely the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the East African Community (EAC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa), will help strengthen the bloc's bargaining power when negotiating international deals.
It should also help intra-regional trade, boost growth, and fight poverty.