The Chief Executive Officer of the South African Aerospace Maritime Defence Export Council (SAAMDEC), Mr Sandile Ndlovu will embark on a mission to seek export opportunities in the Middle East for the South African manufacturing companies operating in the aerospace, maritime and defence industries. Ndlovu will be one of the businesspeople whose companies will be participating in the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) that will take place in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, from 20-24 February 2023.

The companies will showcase their products and services in a National Pavilion that will be set up by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic).

Ndlovu is confident that the South African companies will stand out from the rest of the exhibitors at the international trade show, which is the premier event in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region showcasing the latest technologies in land, sea and air sectors of defence.

About 1 000 companies from across the globe are expected to exhibit their products and services at the popular biennial trade show. More than 60 000 visitors are expected to pass through the turnstiles of the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre where the exhibition will be held.

“I am confident that the South African companies will attract quite a significant amount of attention as the country enjoys a good reputation internationally as a manufacturer of high quality and advanced aerospace and defence products. The Middle East is our biggest export region and there is always an interest in SA-produced products from that part of the world. We are also renowned for being competitive in terms of prices because we manufacture in rands and trade in dollars,” says Ndlovu.

He adds that the South African companies and the export council will be able to put their best foot forward and represent the country and the industry well in the UAE.

“Following the disruption of Covid-19, the trade show provides us with an opportunity to showcase our products again to the global market, particularly the Middle East, which has proven to be a fast-growing and lucrative export market for the SA products. The region is the biggest in terms of destination of our export products because countries there always want to have the best equipment due to the volatility that characterises the region, and the fact that they can afford them,” says Ndlovu.

He adds that another important factor that works in South Africa’s favour is that countries in the region want to reduce their dependence on the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) countries.

“Therefore, they are diversifying in terms of importing of defence products and are moving away from procuring from America and Europe. South Africa stands to benefit from that diversification of import markets. Therefore, participating in IDEX provides us with an opportunity to strengthen our relationship with the Middle East,” notes Ndlovu.

He is optimistic that the exposure that the SA companies will obtain at IDEX will enable them to generate trade leads that will enable them to start exporting or increase their exports to various countries.

“The objective of this entire initiative is to see SA companies getting contracts that will impact positively on the South African economy because their value chain is here, their components are made here, and their workforce is here. If they come back with contracts, their workforce and value chain will benefit noticeably. The SA economy will benefit because of the much-needed foreign currency that the companies will earn and will be injected into our economy,” says Ndlovu.

The South African Aerospace Maritime Defence Export Council was established in 2015 jointly by the industry association, the South African Aerospace Maritime and Defence Industries (AMD) and the dtic. The membership of the organisation comprises 70 companies manufacturing a variety of defence equipment, both defensive and offensive.

“The industry approached the dtic for assistance in 2015 after we realised that the local market had been shrinking since 2005. This resulted in the establishment of the council as we had to open new avenues and explore new opportunities to stay afloat. With the support of the dtic the industry became export-focused and we managed to increase our exports. Several international trade exhibitions and missions later, we are exporting 80% of what the industry produces today,” says Ndlovu.

The CEO of the South African Aerospace Maritime Defence Export Council (SAAMDEC), Mr Sandile Ndlovu


Bongani Lukhele – Director: Media Relations
Tel: (012) 394 1643
Mobile: 079 5083 457
WhatsApp: 074 2998 512
Issued by: The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic)

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