Procurement: March 8, 2002


One of the up and coming arms exporters is South Africa. Actually, South Africa has always been a major exporter, but never on the scale of the U.S., Russia or France. South Africa got started in 1940 when Britain, facing possible invasion by the Nazis, started weapons plants in its former colonies. South Africa kept it's arms industry, and when the nation was isolated economically for it's apartheid policies, it increased it's arms manufacturing. By the late 1980s, weapons production accounted for a fifth of economic output. South Africa sold a lot of quality weapons to nations that had a hard time buying from anyone else (Chile, Cambodia, rebel movements in Angola and Mozambique.) Other customers for the inexpensive, combat tested weapons included Peru, Morocco, Oman, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, South Korea, Israel, and Rwanda. Since South Africa went legit in 1994, more nations have been buying South African weapons (Malaysia, Australia India, Switzerland, Singapore, Colombia, and others.) Annual exports run about $400 million and are poised to increase a lot of European nations buy up South African arms firms. The technology is high and the wages low in South Africa. There are a lot of skilled weapons designers and builders in the nation, especially for less complex weapons. South Africa is taking advantage of the fact many blacks and whites know how to work with both modern industrial cultures, and those based on tribal or small village values. This gives South Africa an edge in selling and servicing weapons in developing nations. And despite the high tech component of South Africa, the nation is seen as a third world nation, which makes it easier to sell weapons to other third world countries.


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