The director of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has said he will do all he can to ensure that Africa continues to be economically integrated into trade with other nations.
Speaking at a meeting of the African Group of the WTO, director-general Roberto Azevedo pledged his continued support and stressed his commitment to further fuelling the continent's growth and development.
The comments came after the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement came into force last week. The deal had been ratified by 22 countries, the minimum threshold needed for it to take effect.
Mr Azevedo said Africa's progress is "hugely welcome" and demonstrates how much it values trade with the wider world.
"Clearly, there is a lot of work ahead of us. I hope that the Africa Group will remain at the forefront of these debates. I am ready to assist in whatever way I can," he added.
The AfCFTA agreement has laid a base for what could be the world's biggest free trade zone in terms of the number of participating countries.