Owing to the Department of Defence’s reduced funding allocation for defence in the country, acquisition agency Armscor has undergone the first phase of an organisational turnaround which will lead its top priorities being revenue generation, cost efficiency, and effective delivery of key products and services.
“Potential revenue generation opportunities were identified and a new Business Enablement department was established as a support structure through which the ‘On time, In time – towards a sustainable future’ initiatives can be driven,” says Armscor CEO Kevin Wakeford.
The primary focus is to facilitate the defence procurement requirements of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), other African States and Brics countries of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. He explains that the department has capitalised on early initiatives and facilitated complex acquisitions across Africa.
Wakeford indicates that Armscor has a number of property assets which are being leveraged for business and commercial use. “The Armscor facilities, Gerotek and Alkantpan, have established businesses that are operating well. Armscor’s intention is to develop further business activities at these facilities and engage with partners in the commercial developments of the vacant properties.”
Armscor is also continuing to engage in other business partnership opportunities locally and internationally. Wakeford says several projects are under way with facilitation of acquisitions for the Department of Correctional Services, the Water Provisioning System as well as complex acquisition for SADC countries.
The agency has supported government’s service delivery initiative, Operation Phakisa, through its capability technologies to protect marine life and safeguard the ocean. This has resulted in projects such as the procurement of hydrographic vessels, as well as inshore and offshore patrol vessels for the South African Navy.
African and Global Market
Wakeford says the local defence industry is focused on promoting peace across the continent. It aims to support the peace dividend that results when there is a focus on stabilising economies so that communities can thrive and trade can resume when the national security threats in those countries have been dealt with.
He says Armscor’s strategy to unlock Africa’s defence potential is progressively penetrating the global market, including Africa, the Middle East, India and the South Pacific countries.
Armscor is also a registered vendor on the United Nation’s database and this will help the agency to tap into peacekeeping supplier opportunities for peacekeeping missions.
Armscor also works with the Department of Trade and Industry to facilitate the partnering of small businesses with bigger suppliers in the global market.
“We continue to leverage Armscor’s extensive international expertise to foster an environment conducive for small business development. The agency provides a level playing field so small, medium-sized and microenterprises (SMMEs) can seize the economic opportunities available and thrive to become formidable global players in the future,” he adds. “This can only be achieved in a defence industry that is transformed through the Defence Sector Charter and the Defence Industry Fund that will provide tailored financial products to SMME companies.”
Technology and Innovation
Wakeford explains that the defence sector operates in an environment characterised by new technologies that drive cooperative innovation between developed and developing countries.
“Armscor believes that the defence industry is a beachhead in driving innovation, as some of the technologies are now used in the commercial and domestic sectors.”
Further, he says the agency has capabilities in communication systems, such as radar and communication equipment and services, which strengthen border controls and security, and in unmanned aerial vehicles, as well as the engineering skills to develop missiles and other technologies to meet the needs of the changing global landscape.
“The agency has facilities for forensic laboratory testing, solutions for the prohibition of chemical warfare, automotive vehicle testing and long-range artillery testing, which it has provided for a global clientele for more than two decades.”
He concludes that Armscor is proud of the “crucial” role it plays to provide cost-effective turnkey defence solutions globally. By so doing, it places Africa’s high-quality expertise on the global map to secure and strengthen relations and boost South Africa’s resilient growth performance.