South African defense company Paramount Group would sign agreement with four (up to seven is speculated) African government to establish arms production facilities.
The company which has previously commissioned various manufacturing and production facilities to meet demand from specific domestic markets before, including in India, Jordan, and Kazakhstan.
A further three agreements making it seven could be signed in southern Africa in two years' time in the next 10 months that covers all our activities in air, land and sea.
"Africa really is innovative," Paramount Group's CEO Ivor Ichikowitz said during the IDEX held in Abu Dhabi. Ichikowitz also said that in the Middle East "there are substantial agreements close to finality" however, he refused to comment on specifics.
"There is a huge amount of skill. There is a huge amount of human capital on the African continent that makes what we are planning to do very achievable."
The company manufactures military vehicles, aircraft, ships, and weapons systems. It is also interested in working with governments on software, cyber security, and artificial intelligence, Ichikowitz said.
"We would implement long-term training, long-term capacity creation programs which would ultimately put us in a position where we are building a domestic defense industry in that country."
Paramount Group launched a 4x4 version of its Mbombe armored personnel vehicle, which Ichikowitz said had been designed for the operational requirements of Middle East countries.
Paramount Group to focus on MENA region
Mena countries are a big focus for the company and much of its product development is based on specifications from clients in the region.
“We’ve seen a lot of our growth coming from Mena,” he said. “A lot of our product is evolving based on current operational requirements from the region.”
The current geopolitical situation has enhanced the prospects for the South African company to compete, he said.
“It’s allowed companies like us to shine,” he said. “We’re finding we’re in a more level playing field.”
“Absolutely it remains a big focus for us, it’s a niche we’re able to fill, and we will continue to pursue that to conclusion,” he said. “We are talking to governments about all our capabilities.”