IPIS Briefing December 2019 – Focus on defence-related companies in Africa

The IPIS briefing offers a selection of articles, news and updates on natural resources, armed conflict, Business & Human Rights and arms trade.  Every month, an editorial and related publications shed a light on a specific topic in IPIS’ areas of research.

In focus: defence-related companies in Africa

In the news:  human rights under pressure in Tanzania; Apple, Google and Microsoft in the dock; Swiss war crimes investigation into DRC mineral trade.

New subscribers can register here to receive the briefing and updates on IPIS’ new maps and reports.

This briefing is produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. The contents of this document are the sole responsibility of IPIS and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union.



Africa’s domestic defence industry remains relatively unknown. Therefore, the International Peace Information Service (IPIS) and Omega Research Foundation have compiled a database of the main entities comprising this industry, including companies that manufacture, assemble or maintain: arms and ammunition; aeronautical components; vehicles; as well as importing and management companies. This data has been mapped to give an overview of the industry’s size and geographic layout.

Whilst in the 1970s the number of African states with a domestic defence industry was still limited, a significant increase can be seen today. Data is hard to obtain and in some cases the manufacturing capabilities of companies is uncertain [e.g. the alleged small arms and ammunition production in the Democratic Republic of Congo (*)] or has become uncertain (Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe). Current known capabilities range from the assembly of armoured and other vehicles as completely knock-down kits (Algeria, Egypt), the manufacture of aircraft components and aircraft maintenance (Morocco), manufacture, maintenance and assembly of naval vessels (Algeria, Namibia, Nigeria), the transfer of technology to manufacture munitions (Algeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan, Tanzania, Kenya, Zimbabwe), the licensed manufacture of small arms and light weapons (Egypt, Ethiopia, Nigeria), artisanal small arms manufacturing (Ghana), to domestic weapons development (South Africa).

The overwhelming majority of these companies are state-owned, or have the state as majority shareholder, however a growing number are privately held (e.g South Africa’s Paramount Group, Nigeria’s Proforce Ltd or Namibia’s NAMDOCK).

The technical and manufacturing know-how has been provided by a wide range of third parties including the Soviet Union, China (Norinco), Germany (Fritz Werner, Rheinmetall, Daimler), Belgium (FN Herstal, SABCA), the United States (General Dynamics Land Systems), France (Renault, Thales, Safran), Italy (Leonardo Finmeccanica), Poland (Polish Armaments Group), Yugoslavia (Zastava) but is increasingly becoming self-developed.

Small arms are manufactured in Algeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and Sudan.

The major manufacturing states are Egypt, South Africa and Sudan with major companies and exporting capability. Algeria, Morocco, Nigeria and Ethiopia are currently investing in their defence industry in order to grow indigenous capability. Many African states have the desire to build a defence industry but almost no capacity to do so. To be viable this nascent domestic industry will also have to focus on exports. One example is the South African Paramount Group which has signed agreements with several Middle East and Asian countries to participate in the further development of local defence industries (Saudi Arabian Military Industries, Kazakhstan Paramount Engineering, and Indonesia’s PT Pindad), and expects to sign agreements with four African countries in near future.

In the foreseeable future one can also expect closer cooperation between the African companies, such as the development of the ST-100 and ST-500 armoured personnel carriers (APCs) for Egypt’s International Marathon United Technology Group (IMUT) by South African Saksa Technologies.

Peter Danssaert

(*) François Misser: “Rivers of Arms”, Africa in Fact, number 52, January/March 2020.


Aéronautique: la success-story marocaine se poursuit | 20 December 2019 |

Après plusieurs années de croissance et de rayonnement, le secteur aéronautique marocain a renforcé sa dynamique d’investissement et élargi davantage sa base de production en 2019 pour s’imposer comme l’une des valeurs sûres et un fer de lance de l’industrie marocaine.

Egypt’s NOMP signs MoU with two defence manufacturers | 12 December 2019 | Zawya

Egypt’s National Organization for Military Production (NOMP), IMUT and Spain’s ESCRIBANO signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to cooperate in the fields of military manufacturing and defence system development.

DICON’s Mine-Resistant Vehicles | 12 December 2019 | Daily Trust

President Muhammadu Buhari last week unveiled locally built Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected (MRAP) war vehicles named Ezugwu. Produced by the Defence Industry Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) and Command Engineering Depot (CED), the tanks are “designed to carry out insertion and extraction of troops, assault, counter-terrorism, delivery of high fire power and urban warfare.”

South Africa and Egypt looking to strengthen defence cooperation | 9 December 2019 | DefenceWeb

The South African defence industry is cultivating closer ties with the Egyptian market, with the South African Aerospace, Maritime, and Defence Export Council (SAAMDEC) holding discussions with Egypt’s Minister of State for Military Production.

Angola to send naval vessels to Namibia for maintenance | 13 November 2019 | Jane’s Defence Weekly

Namibia’s Namdock to maintain Angolan Navy vessels | 11 November 2019 | DefenceWeb

The Angolan Navy is to send two naval vessels to Namibia’s Walvis Bay for dry dock maintenance and support. Namibian company Namdock will perform undisclosed work on the vessels in a contract that has been under negotiation since 2017.

Industries militaires: 10 unité et entreprises de production de l’ANP participent à la foire de production nationale | 8 October 2019 | Algérie Presse Service

Dix unités et entreprises de production de l’Armée nationale populaire (ANP) participent à la foire de la production nationale (Djazair export 2019) qui se tient du 8 au 10 octobre en cours au Palais des expositions (Alger), a indiqué mardi un communiqué du ministère de la Défense Nationale.

Egypt continues to produce locally M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks | 26 August 2019 | ArmyRecognition

The Egyptian Ministry of Defense continues to produce locally M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks with the collaboration of American Company General Dynamics. Pictures were released on Internet, on August 24, 2019, showing M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks 95 percent manufactured in Egypt.

Egypt could sell ST-100 4×4 MRAP armored vehicles to United Arab Emirates | 23 August 2019 | ArmyRecognition

According to the website “The Arab Weekly”, Egypt is close to finalizing a deal with the United Arab Emirates for the delivery of local-made ST-100 4×4 MRAP (Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected) vehicles. The ST-100 is designed and manufactured by the Egyptian Defense Company International Marathon United Technology Group (IMUT).

Russian Helicopters to certify a service centre in Egypt in 2019 | 17 July 2019 | DefenceWeb

Russian Helicopters Holding Company (part of Rostec State Corporation) is completing the creation of maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) centre for Mi-8/17 helicopters based at the facilities of Helwan Factory for Developed Industries (HFDI) in Helwan (Egypt). The Holding Company plans to certify the MRO centre in Egypt in 2019.

Saudi Arabian Military Industries and Paramount Group Sign High-Level Collaboration Agreement On Defence and Security | 3 July 2019 | Paramount Group

Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) and Paramount Group, the global aerospace and technology company, announced the signing of a high-level defence collaboration agreement, in step with Saudi Arabia’s vision for the creation of an integrated defence industrial ecosystem.

Nigerian army manufactures light patrol vehicles, weapons | 21 June 2019 | ArmyRecognition

The Nigerian Army has embarked in the production of light tactical vehicles and other weapons at the Nigerian Army Vehicle Manufacturing Company (NAVMC) in order to assist in addressing internal security challenges, APA News reports.

The 7 African countries that produce and export weapons to other nations | 19 June 2019 | Pulse

Research shows that African nations are importing fewer arms over the last decade. Arms export across the world is currently the highest it has ever been since the Cold War ended in 1991.

Egypt launches locally built corvette | 14 May 2019 | DefenceWeb

The Egyptian Navy has launched its second locally built Gowind class corvette, Al-Moez, which was built by the Alexandria Shipyard Company in cooperation with France’s Naval Group.

Paramount Group Marauder armored vehicle to equip Nigerian Air Force | 28 March 2019 | ArmyRecognition

Paramount Group, the African-based global defence and aerospace company, has proudly launched its Marauder armoured vehicle and personnel carrier within the Republic of Nigeria, in partnership with the Nigerian Air Force. The move comes as the West African nation is bolstering its efforts to effectively tackle a wide range of threats posed by various terrorist and extremist groups.

Sudan reveals ‘Shareef-3’ upgrade to BTR-70 | 14 March 2019 | Jane’s International Defence Review

Sudan’s Military Industry Corporation (MIC) has expanded its range of wheeled armoured personnel carriers (APC) with an upgraded Russian BTR-70 8×8 called the Shareef-3.

SAFAV Mercedes Benz de Tiaret se lancera, début avril, dans la phase montage à 100% | 7 March 2019 | Algérie Presse Service

La société algérienne de fabrication de véhicules (SAFAV) de Mercedes Benz à Ain Bouchekif (wilaya de Tiaret) se lancera début avril prochain dans la phase de montage à cent pour cent, a annoncé, jeudi à Tiaret, le directeur de production de SAFAV.

Milkor supplied South African National Defence Force with Y4 SuperSix grenade launchers | 4 March 2019 | ArmyRecognition

Milkor has delivered the last batch of 180 SuperSix Y4 six-shot grenade launchers to the South African National Defence Force (SANDF). The weapons were shipped out on 28 February.

Nigerian army ready to export combat vehicles to African countries in 2030 | 6 February 2019 | ArmyRecognition

The Chief Of Nigerian Army Staff, (COAS) Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai, has announced that the Nigerian Army will begin to export combat vehicles to other African countries in the year 2030. This information was released during the commissioning ceremony of the Nigerian Army Vehicle Manufacturing Company (NAVMC) in Kaduna.

Increasing success for Nigerian Proforce Ara 2 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle | 29 January 2019 | ArmyRecognition

Nigeria’s Proforce Ltd is preparing to launch the 2019 version of its PF Ara 2 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle as it expands into the naval and unmanned aerial vehicle markets.

Ghana unveils domestically-produced APC | 10 January 2019 | DefenceWeb

On 30 December, at the 38th annual Technology Exhibition of the Kantanka Group in Accra, the Kantanka Technological Centre of Excellence (KTCE) showed off a domestically-produced wheeled armoured personnel carrier (APC).

Sudan puts its metal on display at IDEX | 8 March 2017 | DefenceWeb

Sudan’s defence industry had a prominent display at the recent IDEX defence show in Abu Dhabi and displayed a wide range of military equipment, from upgraded scout cars and artillery to new armoured personnel carrier variants.

PMP proceeding with plant renewal | 3 November 2015 | DefenceWeb

Pretoria Metal Pressings (PMP) has started its plant renewal process and aims to have this completed by 2020, making the company more efficient and cost competitive.

Zimbabwe Defence Industries should be shut down | 3 March 2015 | DefenceWeb

The State-owned Zimbabwe Defence Industries (ZDI) said it would be better to be shut down due to poor economic conditions and halted production lines.

Is Ethiopia Violating UN Sanctions against North Korea | 23 December 2014 | 38 North

Since the 1970s, Ethiopia has been in the company of North Korea’s most loyal military customers. Amongst other things, Pyongyang has been a source of munitions, armored personnel carriers, tanks and tank parts, artillery and rocket fuel. In addition to these forms of assistance, North Korea has helped Ethiopia construct, operate and upgrade two weapons factory complexes—today known as the Gafat Armament Industry and Homicho Ammunition Industry.



The war on free speech in Tanzania | 5 January 2020 | The Week

Activists in Tanzania spend the holidays behind bars amid crackdown on free expression | 30 December 2019 | PRI

Every holiday season, the Magoti family comes together from all corners of Tanzania and travels up-country to their ancestral home in Bunda, Tanzania. This year, they spent Christmas Eve and Christmas at church. Usually, they do a big family dinner and a Magoti family meeting the day after Christmas. But this year, they didn’t do any of that. They were too out of spirits. Tito Magoti, who works as a human rights advocate, was missing from the family festivities. Tito, 26, a program associate with the Legal and Human Rights Center (LHRC) in Dar es Salaam, has spent the holiday season hundreds of miles away in Segerea Remand Prison.

DRC child labour: Mining companies accused of exploitation | 4 January 2020 | Al Jazeera

Apple and Google named in US lawsuit over Congolese child cobalt mining deaths | 16 December 2019 | The Guardian

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, many children working in mines say they are physically and sexually abused. They’re forced to mine cobalt, a metal used to make telephones and computers. Now, in a landmark lawsuit, a non-profit organisation is accusing five of the world’s largest tech companies of exploiting child labour and being complicit in the deaths of some.

Abduction of human rights activist echos chilling trend in Tanzania | 21 December 2019 | Global Voices

Prominent human rights activist Tito Magoti was abducted in broad daylight by five unknown people in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and is now being detained by police.

Individual and NGO Access to the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights: The Latest Blow from Tanzania | 16 December 2019 | EJIL : Talk !

Recently, reports emerged (here and here) that the Tanzanian government withdrew its declaration allowing individuals and NGOs to directly submit applications against it at the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR). Tanzania’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation Prof. Palamagamba Kabudi signed the notice of withdrawal on 14 November 2019, and the African Union Commission received it on 21 November 2019.

The United Nations Forum on Business and Human Rights 2019 | 6 December 2019 | Webwire

From 25-27 November 2019, Geneva hosted the 8th edition of the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights, bringing together around 2,000 representatives of government, business, human rights experts, activists and civil society organizations.

Banks still only pay lip service to the UN Guiding Principles, with dire consequences’ | 6 December 2019 | Ethical Corporation

BankTrack’s Ryan Brightwell says its latest human rights benchmark shows only ABN Amro can be considered a ‘leader’, while four out of five banks meet fewer than half of the benchmark’s requirements.

Amnesty reacts as Tanzania withdraws from African court | 3 December 2019 | The East African

International human rights group Amnesty International has raised the red flag over Tanzania’s move to block the right of individuals and NGOs to directly file cases against the country at the African Court on Human and People’s Rights (AfCHPR).

Modern Slavery: The Advent of Legislation Affecting Corporations (pdf) | 2 December 2019 | Eversheds Sutherland Bitāns | Lexology

Today, 2 December, marks the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery. A common misconception about slavery is that it no longer exists. Although the Abolitionist movement of the 19th century in Europe and the Americas put an end to slave trade and set slaves free, it did not eradicate slavery as a phenomenon. In truth, modern slavery continues to be ingrained in our daily lives. Forced labour, exploitation of children, debt bondage, trafficking of human beings and sexual exploitation are just a few forms of modern slavery, each more serious and inhuman than the other. Alarmingly, the number of people forced into slavery worldwide is ascending!

Tanzania’s ruling party warns international organizations against meddling with country’s internal affairs | 29 November 2019 | CGTN

Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), Tanzania’s ruling party, on Thursday warned international organizations to stop interfering with the nation’s internal affairs.

Interview: A Toxic Mix of Abuses on Congo’s Oil Palm Plantations | 25 November 2019 | Human Rights Watch

The largest agricultural employer in the Democratic Republic of Congo is Plantations et Huileries du Congo S.A. (PHC). In a country where two-thirds of the population live in poverty, PHC employs thousands on its oil palm plantations. The company, a subsidiary of Toronto-listed Feronia Inc., has received millions of dollars from the development banks of four European countries – Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.


Swiss open war crimes probe into DRC mineral trade | 14 December 2019 | Daily Monitor

Switzerland said Thursday that it had opened a war crimes investigation into possible illegal mineral trading in the Democratic Republic of Congo after activist groups filed a complaint against Swiss trader Christoph Huber.

Countering wildlife trafficking through Tanzania’s ports | 12 December 2019 | Traffic

Every year, illegal wildlife trade displaces billions of US dollars of national revenue from developing countries to the criminal individuals and networks involved in this crime. Traffickers exploit legitimate transport, logistics services and commercial trade routes to move wildlife and their products illegally from source to consumer countries. Tanzania’s seaports, especially Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar, are highly vulnerable to wildlife trafficking.

Zimbabwe: Army Grabs Omani Tycoon’s Properties Over DRC Deal | 6 December 2019 | Zimbabwe Independent |

The military seized various properties belonging to mega rich Omani businessman Thamer al Shanfari as a result of a fallout emanating from a diamond mining operation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) when Zimbabwe participated in the Great Lakes War in 1998, the Zimbabwe Independent can report.

Can Blockchain Help Rid Tech Products of ‘Conflict Minerals’? | 2 December 2019 | Yigal Chazan (Alaco) | Geopolitical Monitor

The driver of the cryptocurrency revolution, blockchain, looks set to address one of the biggest ethical headaches for tech and electronics manufacturers – concerns over the possible presence of so-called conflict minerals in their products.


When will the guns in Africa be silenced? | 4 January 2020 | DW

Silencing the guns by 2020 — that was the proclaimed goal of the African Union back in 2016. A goal which many experts believe is unattainable, especially if illegal arms trade continues to flourish.

US hands over more military hardware to Niger | 11 December 2019 | DefenceWeb

The United States has handed over a second tranche of military equipment to Niger, including 13 Mamba armoured personnel carriers (APCs).

Experts Discuss Control of Illicit Arms Trade in West Africa | 5 December 2019 | Ghanaian Times |

MORE than 30 arms control officials from five West African countries and international experts on Tuesday gathered in Accra to discuss ways to firm up the control of illicit arms trade in the region. They were from Ghana, Zambia, Gambia, Sierra Leone and Liberia with the experts from Germany, France and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the European Union (EU).

As South Sudan Seeks Funds for Peace, a Billion Dollar Spending Spree | 2 December 2019 | OCCRP

As the sun sinks in Juba, South Sudan’s capital, a 29-year-old policeman has just finished his shift. Out of view of a busy street, he changes into civilian clothes before class at a nearby university.


The risk of jihadist contagion in West Africa | 30 December 2019 | International Crisis Group | Mail & Guardian

Faced with jihadist breakthrough in Burkina Faso, neighbouring states in West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea increasingly fear attacks in their own territories. These countries should improve intelligence sharing, strengthen border controls and regain the trust of local populations.

Children in Conflict Pay a Deadly Price | 30 December 2019 | Voice of America

The U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says verified attacks on children in conflict have risen threefold since 2010, making the past decade particularly deadly for children.

Final report of the Panel of Experts on the Central African Republic pursuant to Security Council resolution 2454 (2019) (S/2019/930) | 14 December 2019 | UN Security Council | ReliefWeb

The members of the Panel of Experts on the Central African Republic extended pursuant to resolution 2454 (2019) have the honour to transmit herewith, in accordance with paragraph 4 of resolution 2454 (2019), the final report on their work.

SPLM-N El Hilu ‘ready for Sudan peace talks in Juba’ | 8 December 2019 | Dabanga

The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North faction of Abdelaziz El Hilu (SPLM-N El Hilu) has declared the readiness of its negotiation team to engage in direct peace talks with the interim government of Sudan scheduled to take place in Juba, the capital of South Sudan on Tuesday.

Democratic Republic of Congo: Sexual Violence Still a Painful Reality of Conflict, a UN Official Says | 4 December 2019 | United Nations Stabilization Mission in the DR Congo

The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict concluded her tour of eastern DRC after visiting Goma and Bukavu from 29 November to 2 December 2019. Pramila Patten is on her first official visit to the DRC. She is currently in Kinshasa where she will meet senior Congolese authorities, including the country’s First Lady who is engaged in the fight against sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

UNMISS acts to deter further violence between communities in Maper | 3 December 2019 | UN Mission in South Sudan | ReliefWeb

Seventy-five United Nations peacekeepers have been temporarily re-deployed from Rumbek to Maper to deter further violence between communities in the northern Lakes region of South Sudan.

Responding to the Rise in Violent Extremism in the Sahel | 2 December 2019 | Africa Center for Strategic Studies

The Sahel has experienced the most rapid increase in militant Islamist group activity of any region in Africa in recent years. Violent events involving extremist groups in the region have doubled every year since 2015. In 2019, there have been more than 700 such violent episodes (see Figure 1). Fatalities linked to these events have increased from 225 to 2,000 during the same period. This surge in violence has uprooted more than 900,000 people, including 500,000 in Burkina Faso in 2019 alone.

The situation in Central Africa and the activities of the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa – Report of the Secretary-General (S/2019/913) | 29 November 2019 | UN Security Council | ReliefWeb

The present report is submitted pursuant to the statement of the President of the Security Council dated 10 August 2018 (S/PRST/2018/17), in which the Council requested me to keep it informed about the activities of the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA). It provides an assessment of the major politica l and security developments and trends in Central Africa since my report dated 24 May 2019 (S/2019/430) and an update on progress in the implementation of the UNOCA mandate with regard to the conclusions of the strategic review of UNOCA, which were welcomed by the Council in the statement of its President dated 12 September 2019 (S/PRST/2019/10). The report also provides an update on the situation in the Lake Chad basin region, pursuant to Council resolution 2349 (2017).