About 121 candidates are said to have applied for the Secretary-General position of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the African Union Commission has revealed.

The number was whittled down to 30, which includes two prominent Ghanaians, one of whom is a former Minister of State under the erstwhile Mahama administration.

But the two could not make it to the final shortlist of six candidates who are currently going through a series of evaluation. The finalists are from Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia and Morocco.

Minister for Trade and Industry, Alan Kyerematen, who is a member of the Selection Panel for the recruitment of the Secretary-General of AfCFTA, is in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia this week for the exercise.

The Selection Panel is interviewing the six shortlisted applicants at the African Union Commission Headquarters in Addis Ababa as part of the selection process.

The successful candidate is expected to start work in March 2020 in Accra, after the approval of the Heads of States during their Summit this weekend.

The African Continental Free Trade Area is a single market Duty-free Quota-free trading bloc covering the entire African Continent with a total population of about 1.2 billion and a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of almost USD 3 trillion.

The operational phase of the Agreement was formally launched on July 7, 2019, at the African Union Summit in Niamey, Niger.

Ghana is hosting the AfCFTA Secretariat and it is expected to be a game-changer and a launchpad for Ghana’s private sector to explore and exploit business opportunities in Africa.