ShieldAfrica defence expo underway in Ivory Coast


A large number of exhibitors have turned out at the ShieldAfrica defence exhibition currently taking place in the Ivory Coast, which runs from 24 to 26 January.

The show opened in Abidjan on 24 January in a ceremony attended by the Ivory Coast’s interior and security minister Hamed Bakayoko. “Africa is a developing continent experiencing rapid urbanisation, a massive influx of new technologies but also chronic instability in certain parts. It can only pursue its growth in a safe and peaceful environment. Life and property safety, transportation safety, network security, banking and currency security and cyber security, inter alia, are thus the conditions of success of this continent which must now protect its development,” he said.
“ShieldAfrica is an opportunity for top African government officials and private sector leaders to meet international manufacturers offering security solutions…ShieldAfrica remains an African exhibition, designed by African people and tailored to African countries.”

Ahead of the exhibition a defence and security conference was held on 23 January with the theme “Africa, towards an integrated approach to protecting our development”. A number of seminars and workshops were held throughout the exhibition. This year’s exhibition focusses on defence, anti-terrorism, security, cyber security, safe cities, surveillance, piracy, cyber security, border security and protection, amongst others.

Some 130 exhibitors from 24 countries were expected to attended the show along with 2 000 visitors. Some of the exhibitors included Verint (specialising in actionable intelligence), ECA Group (UAVs and Unmanned Ground Vehicles), DigitalGlobe (satellite imagery), Airbus, Armscor, Codan Radio Communications, Israel Shipyards Limited, Israel Weapon Industries, Leonardo, Minelab (mine protection and detection), Pelican Products South Africa, Renault Trucks Defence, Sillinger (boats), and Thales.

French UAV specialist Drone Volt presented its aerial surveillance unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) at ShieldAfrica, including its HERCULES UF Unlimited Flight flagship model. “Europe and Africa are two continents in which demand for surveillance drones is increasing markedly. Africa is a dynamic market with strong potential for growth. The difficulty in accessing landlocked areas, the lack of transport infrastructure, the high cost of travel, etc. in this continent make drones a particularly suitable surveillance tool,” said Olivier Gualdoni, CEO of Drone Volt.

Another French company, Nexter, had a significant presence, and was offering its ballistic computers, fire control systems, Caesar 155 mm artillery system (deployed by the French military in Mali) and 105 LG1 towed 105 mm artillery system and 20 mm cannons. Nexter brought its Titus 6×6 multirole armoured vehicle to ShieldAfrica, promoting the 6×6 vehicle to African countries – Nexter Systems recently sold Aravis vehicles to Gabon. The vehicle can be fitted with machineguns, cannons and grenade launchers and is protected against landmines and IEDs.

Another French company, Technic Export, did a live demonstration of its TEX 250HJ field kitchen while MagForce brought a Renault Duster 4×4 vehicle heavily modified for military and law enforcement duties.

CAA showcased its Micro Roni carbine conversion kit, which turns a Glock 17/19 pistol into a carbine with picatinny rails, extra magazine holder, sight and folding stock.

South Korean company JINO Motors showcased its JRC riot control vehicle family. The company has previously done business in Africa, with its customer base including Chad, Ethiopia and Kenya, according to Army Recognition. The JRC series features an armoured cab, dozer blade, fire-fighting system, run flat tyres and water cannons with capacity ranging between 6 500 and 12 000 litres.

Rosoboronexport participated in ShieldAfrica for the first time, where it promoted 250 items of equipment including the Mi-35M attack helicopter, Ka-226T light multipurpose, BTR-80A armoured personnel carrier (APC), VPK-233136 special armoured wheeled vehicle, as well as Project 12150 Mangust fast patrol boat and Project 14310 Mirazh patrol boat.
“In recent years, the African arms market has been showing a steady upward trend. This is due to the need to combat the terrorist threat, as well as the increasing participation of African countries in regional and international peacekeeping missions. Rosoboronexport keeps abreast and is ready to offer its partners in the continent the necessary weapons, military equipment for all branches of the armed forces and special units,” said Vadim Startsev, Deputy Head of Rosobornexport’s Marketing Department

ShieldAfrica is organised by COGES Africa, a subsidiary of COGES, which organises the Eurosatory defence and security exhibition in Europe. 2017 marks the fourth edition of the biennial ShieldAfrica event. Previous editions of ShieldAfrica have taken place in Gabon and Ivory Coast. The 2015 edition attracted 46 international exhibitors and 25 official delegations.