Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Africa’s arms market is likely to grow by 50% over the next five years, analyst Stephane Konan said at a four-day trade show in Ivory Coast.

“The African market in defence represents only a drop of water in relation to the world market: $42.6bn out of $1,731bn in 2017,” Konan told AFP, citing figures from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

“But it is in steady growth and should increase by 50%  over the next five years. That’s why the principal providers of defence equipment are here,” added Konan, the manager of the Shield Africa event and a key adviser to Ivory Coast’s defence minister.

The fifth defence trade fair in Africa has attracted 113 exhibitors from 29 countries, with 50 official delegations. Organisers said turnout is four times that of the first show in 2013, for companies and official teams alike.

Among nations leading the world’s arms industry — the US, China, France and Israel — all have stands at Shield Africa, but so do vendors from smaller powers such as SA, Turkey, Belarus, South Korea and Australia.

“Africa is undergoing strong economic growth, but also new threats. It’s the continent that suffered the most terrorist attacks in 2017, and threats to the environment are increasing, like poaching and illegal fishing … so the need for defence and security material is growing,” Konan said.