Beating some of his swords into ploughshares, Armscor CEO Kevin Wakeford has argued that SA should establish an industrial park in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to service the multibillion-dollar aid and peacekeeping industry in Africa. Wakeford was speaking to defence chiefs from across Africa at the recent annual Aerospace, Maritime & Defence Conference, held prior to the Africa Aerospace & Defence Exhibition at Air Force Base Waterkloof. Armsdealers came from as far afield as Russia, China, Turkey, the US, UK and Sudan to display their wares, offering the usual showcase of large weapons systems — from submarines and warships to torpedoes and cargo aircraft. But this year there was a notable shift towards civil defence, emergency and medical services, firefighting, urban safety and other civilian technologies. This is in part because SA, with its defence expenditure at just 1% of GDP, has no big defence contracts looming. But it’s also because of the lighter milit...

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