UK wants African SMEs to bid for UK defence work
South Africans could see a boost to opportunities to sell to the UK defence industry – and UK small and medium size businesses are also being encouraged to look to Africa, according to the regional director of the UK's Trade & Investment department, (UKTI)
Sophie Lane, the regional director covering Africa, Europe and the Middle East for the Defence and Security Organisation (DSO) was at AAD and said the UK was keen to develop two-way partnerships, “The idea is getting a lot of ministerial support,” she said.
“We have opened up the information so that African companies can get accredited to access the bulletins that list the tenders. This is now free of charge to those companies,” she said.
Accreditation can requested online at www.contracts.mod.uk
“Ideally we would hope that we can link South African companies to UK SMEs as well. Industrial cooperation means that lessons can be learned and different competencies can be explored.”
UKTI brought eight firms to AAD, some visiting Africa for the first time.
“There are things that the UK firms are doing that can have direct applications to African operations – and at the same time there are lots of things happening in South Africa that would benefit the knowledge and markets in the UK.”
At a government to government level, greater cooperation is also on the cards.
“We went through a strategic defence review and now South Africa has its review. There are lessons to be learned. I think there are many ways we can build capability and also each grow our businesses,”