Africa must feature prominently at this year's SONA - Naledi Pandor

Africa and its link to the global community must feature prominently in President Cyril Ramaphosa's State of the Nation Address (SONA), International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor said on Thursday.

Pandor was speaking ahead of Ramaphosa's fourth SONA in three years.

Ramaphosa assumed the role of African Union (AU) chairperson this week, replacing Egypt at the AU summit at its headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Pandor said the key imperatives for Africa included the implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area.

On Monday, South Africa's chief negotiator during the free trade agreement negotiations, Mamkele Mane, was elected as its secretary-general.

The organisation's headquarters will be based in Accra, Ghana.

"I think we are geared to play an important role in ensuring that the free trade area agreement is implemented, and we must provide all the support that we can from our side."

In July, South Africa will host a summit to evaluate the continent's readiness to implement the free trade area agreement. 

With South Africa's economy struggling, Pandor said it was important that Ramaphosa should focus on strategies to revive it.

"The low level of growth is leading to other problems that are harming both the perception of society and opportunities that South Africans think are available to them."

Pandor added while Ramaphosa had punted the need for a safer South Africa for women, he needed to demonstrate he had made good on his promises.