Armscor’s first steps into becoming a UN supplier has seen the South African defence and security acquisition agency submit a Request for Information (RfI) to the world body for uniforms for its peacekeepers deployed in Africa.
“Armscor consolidated information from South African companies and this was forwarded to the UN. The RfI intent was to gather information on the supply base,” Armscor General Manager: Marketing And Business Development, Lulu Mzili, said adding no Request for Offer had yet been issued.
The RfI to the UN Department of Peacekeeping is in line with Armscor and the Defence Ministry’s stated intent of opening up the South African defence industry to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMMEs), particularly those owned and operated by blacks, with the emphasis on women and youth.
This saw Armscor submit an RfI on behalf of “a 10 supplier conglomerate” for uniforms to be used buy peacekeepers.
There has not yet been any response from the world body to the RfI.
Speaking at a UN procurement conference last August Armscor chief executive, Kevin Wakeford, said it was time South Africa became “a meaningful part” of the UN supply chain. In its latest annual report Armscor indicated it has started “providing services to some countries on the (African) continent”.
Wakeford has also pointed out that Africa is home to the majority of UN peacekeeping operations where substantial amounts of money are being spent on various aspects of peacekeeping ranging from the supply of tents and other accommodation through to uniforms, vehicles and a variety of services including air charter (both fixed and rotary-winged).
He said last year that MINUSMA (the UN operation in Mali) has a $9 billion budget, operations in Liberia and Ivory Coast have a combined $.7 billion budget, MONUSCO (DR Congo) has a $1.3 billion budget, UNAMID (Sudan) $1.1 billion, the UN in Somalia $0.5 billion and MINISCA( (Central African Republic) $.8 billion.
“”We need to get a portion of this huge spend. We need to collaborate, we need to work together. To fight over the crumbs of the domestic economy is not a good approach,” he is on record as saying.
Part of the Armscor turnaround strategy involves unlocking Africa’s defence growth potential and exploring new pathways via new African defence partners, using the defence sector to drive economic and job growth, fostering public/private partnership, promoting defence solutions and supporting peacekeeping in Africa.
Secretary for Defence Dr Sam Gulube sees South Africa becoming the gateway to supply the continent’s armed forces.