Paramount Group chairman: Africa’s defence industry outlook for 2021


Like most industries, defense manufacturers and service providers were severely affected by the enforced lockdowns that came in the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic and had to adapt quickly to rescue their businesses from unprecedented challenges, with unpredictable consequences. Still, today, it remains extremely difficult for the industry to measure the implications and predict when the post-coronavirus world will arrive, and what it will look like.

The outlook for the industry is the subject of much speculation and debate in boardrooms throughout the sector, requiring sober and rational consideration of the information at hand. In an ideal world, evidence-based decision-making should be the norm, but when the evidence is contested, unreliable or unavailable, we are in unchartered territory and industry leaders are faced with complicated choices. Nevertheless, choices must be made.

Most of these problems are universal, given the global nature of the pandemic, but inevitably there are regional differences. In the developing world, and particularly in Africa, the sector is not as well developed as in wealthier countries with a longer tradition of industrialization. But Africa’s requirement for peace and security, and the means to achieve it, is evidently greater than most other parts of the world. There are more peacekeeping operations in Africa than elsewhere, and it is a truism that without peace and security there cannot be the desired socioeconomic and human development of Africa.

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