South Africa’s defence industry, increasingly reliant on exports, has had another foreign market opened up to it via a memorandum of understanding (MOU) entered into between AMD and the UAE’s National Defence Companies Council (NDCC).
AMD, the Aerospace, Maritime and Defence Industries Association of SA, signed the MOU at IDEX, which ended in Abu Dhabi earlier this week, with the NDCC, which is empowered by the Tawazun Economic Council.
NDCC acts as a backbone for the United Arab Emirates’ defence industry and creates channels for communication between its own defence contractors and international industry players. This creates potential business opportunities to serve the interests of the UAE and countries it partners with.
During this year’s IDEX, NDCC entered into three MOUs. South Korea, Turkey and South Africa now all have agreements in place with the country.
A statement issued by NDCC said the second MOU to be signed at IDEX was with South Africa, in the form of AMD.
“AMD is a cluster of leading South African companies in both the private and public sectors supplying defence materiel, products and services. The MOU was signed by His Excellency Saif Mohammed Al Hajeri, NDCC chairman and retired brigadier general Damian de Lange, AMD chair.”
Turkey, represented by SaSaD (Association of Turkish producers of defence systems and equipment for domestic and international markets), and South Korea, through the South Korean Defence Industry Association (KDIA), also concluded MOUs with the UAE.
In terms of each of the MOUs and to enable co-operation, the parties will form a joint committee to develop initial projects. This will enable discussion and opportunities for agreement without binding either party to specific obligations.
“The main purpose of the agreements is to achieve the mission of the NDCC in strengthening relations with international parties, exchange knowledge and expertise and explore potential business opportunities,” the statement added.
Commenting on the MOUs, Al Hajeri said: “The UAE has trade relations with each of the countries we signed MOUs with and our nations share extensive cultural, military and economic ties.
“We hope these latest collaborative agreements to further develop business opportunities in the defence sector, will reap rewards in a mutually beneficial relationship for each of the parties. We look forward to seeing the results of these collaborations and how we can leverage individual fortes to achieve growth and development in the sector”.
In addition to South Africa’s “top two” defence industry conglomerates – State-owned Denel and the privately owned Paramount Group – a number of other South African defence industry companies used IDEX as a platform to show products and services suitable for the MENA region. They included Centurion-headquartered Canvas and Tent, the DCD Group, Desert Wolf Consulting, Reutech Communications, Rippel Effect and Tellumat. Other companies on the South African pavilion include Cliff’s Way (aerospace) Gelvenor (textile and fabric engineers), Stepahead Military Headgear and Cochrane Steel (perimeter security defence).