Africa’s largest privately owned aerospace and defence company Paramount Group said it would continue to expand its business in the developing world, which had a “huge requirement” for defence and security products.
Paramount Group CEO John Craig told Engineering News Online that the company would focus on developing countries, as North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, or Nato, countries were well served with their own defence industries.
“We are actively seeking to serve these markets and in the next year we see our expansion drive into regional markets, Latin America, the Middle East and continuing our operations in Asia.”
Craig explained that the company would use South Africa as the base from where it developed its intellectual property. “It is absolutely our business concept to partner with international companies, in particular where local programmes are large enough that they could economically warrant transfer of technology,” he said.
Paramount also assisted its international customers through training and skills development to understand and build its products in their own markets, which further reduced exporting/importing costs.
Meanwhile, the company has introduced an improved armoured vehicle range, including the landmine-protected Marauder and Matador vehicles and the Mbombe fighting vehicle.
The prototype vehicles were built in 2007 and have been put through a series of trials in South Africa, as well as extreme weather trials in Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
Weighing between 15 t to 18 t, the vehicles can be adapted to a variety of missions without the requirement for a major redesign.
WORKING WITH AFRICA
Paramount chairperson Ivor Ichikowitz noted that Africa was on the brink of major transformation, but said a lack of integration between nations was holding the continent back.
“By forming a distinct economic grouping, a pan-African equivalent to Brics [Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa] we could work together for our collective economic interests.
“There’s no shortage of pan-African subjects which need to be addressed, such as the beneficiation of raw materials, access to markets and tariffs,” he noted.
Further, Ichikowitz said that by 2035, the continent’s labour force would be bigger than any individual country in the world, including India and China. “Nigeria and Ethiopia would add a total of 30-million workers by 2020, while South Africa is expected to add 2-million,” he said.
Ichikowitz concluded that Africa was the next frontier of growth and development and would be a main driver of the global economy. “By bringing together a talented population of one-billion people, we could withstand any global competition – and truly call this an ‘African century’.”