This, according to the unit, is because the 27 countries including Ghana look unready for the trading to take place after exhausting their one-year grace period.

The unit attributed this 'lackadaisical' attitude of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) signatory states to the hesitant behaviour of their respective governments on the free trade implementation.

The EIU said “some larger African countries, such as Nigeria, are still ambivalent about the agreement and, therefore, hesitant to push (and support) their smaller, less developed neighbours into preparing for its activation. Other important economies, such as Ethiopia and South Africa, are gripped by domestic crises that are absorbing reformers’ energies”.

Adding that the institutional frameworks responsible for handling the legal issues arising from the implementation of the AfCFTA are weak in many African states.

“Sluggish implementation of necessary legal changes and other obstacles will, therefore, see the vast majority of African states fail to meet the July 2020 deadline. While pan-African institutions like the African Union and the AfDB will continue to push for action, we expect the agreement’s activation will be postponed (de facto if not de jure) until at least the end of 2020,” the firm said in its latest forecast.