CAF said on Thursday after a meeting of its executive committee that the tournament will expand for the first time since 1996 and be switched from its usual slot in January and February.
The move will result in AFCON no longer clashing with the middle of the European season, meaning clubs will not have to cope without African players who are called up for the tournament.
AFCON will also be held exclusively in Africa and feature only nations from the continent following suggestions CAF could host the tournament elsewhere and invite non-African teams to compete.
Cameroon, the holders of the AFCON title after beating Egypt in February’s final, will host the next finals in 2019, with 24 nations to be included in the competition for the first time.
An inspection will be conducted in early September to ensure Cameroon are on track to hold the tournament. Cameroon’s sports minister Pierre Ismael Bidoung has this week denied reports the country is falling behind with preparations as hosts.