PRETORIA-- The United Kingdom has underlined its commitment to innovative partnerships and technology transfer with South Africa as well as the rest of Africa in the defence sector, says a British defence adviser.
This builds on Prime Minister Theresa May's August visits to South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria during which she announced a new partnership with the continent based on mutual benefits and shared prosperity and security and was first visit by a British prime minister to Africa since 2013, adds Air Vice Marshal Nigel Maddox (retired).
Speaking at the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) expo taking place hewre this week, Maddox, who is the Senior Military Adviser to Britain's Trade & Investment Defence & Security Organisation, said the AAD was an appropriate event to build on May's successful visit and emphasized the importance of partnerships, collaboration and the transfer of technical information.
It was important that SA and the UK worked together and shared the lessons learned in security in areas such as border security, maritime and cyber security, he said, noting that these were areas for future co-operation.
Pooling resources, I think, we're unstoppable. It is a winning team and I think that's what we're looking for in the future, he added.
The British High Commissioner (ambassador) to South Africa, Nigel Casey, stressed that the nature of the UK's defence relationship with South Africa, was a genuine partnership, not one of just buyer and seller, as South Africa was an advanced defence manufacturer itself.
Casey noted that several of the British companies exhibiting at the show were already working as partners with established South Africab companies and often supplying niche capabilities to products made by local companies either for the South African National Defence Force or for export to third countries.
He also said the products were not only for the military, but included items to enhance civilian security such as scanners at airports and bomb-proofing equipment. All helps to create an environment in the country and region which is conducive to development, he added.
He said they were also trying to develop a broader set of suppliers, including bringing young black-owned enterprises into the supply chain.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, when opening the expo, had outlined the government's commitment to supporting the local defence industry to become export driven on the back of international investment.
He also stressed the importance of opening the industry up for participation by small and medium black enterprises through the Defence Sector Charter and for it to become an incubator of scarce skills in science, technology and engineering.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK