Nigeria recently declared its intention of joining the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The country set to sign the AfCFTA agreement at the African Union summit starting in Niger on Sunday.

With Nigeria, the biggest and most populous economy on the continent, joining AfCFTA the economic integration of the continent receives a huge boost.

Once Nigeria joins 52 of the 54 African countries will have committed to the development of a continent-wide trading bloc.

Only Eritrea and Benin have declined to join the AfCFTA.

The AfCFTA seeks to promote trade by reducing the barriers to the sale of good and services between African countries.

Much of the initial focus of the agreement will be on reducing taxes countries place on imports from other African countries.

Another aspect that is as important as reduced tariffs is the ability of Africans to move across the continent.

Currently there are massive barriers to the free movement of people across African borders.

South Africans still require visas to visit half of the countries on the continent.

The map below shows which countries require visas, allow visa-free access or allow South Africans to obtain a visa (or e-Visa) on arrival.

South Africans enjoy visa-free access to most members of SADC but have only limited access to countries in the north west of the continent.

South Africans have greater access to South America where only three countries require visas.

By contrast no North American country affords South Africans visa-free access.

Only three European countries (Ireland, Russia and Kosovo) grant us visa-free access.

Ireland is thus the only member of the European Union which grants South Africa visa-free access.

The interactive map below shows visa requirements for South Africans across the globe.

South Africans have visa-free access to 93 countries (including the 29 African countries) and three self-administered territories (Hong Kong, Macao and the Palestinian Territories).

Hopefully the AfCFTA will improve access Africans have to other countries on the continent and that access to the northern, western and central parts of the continent will soon be eased.

Once this happens the level of economic integration across the continent will begin to improve.