Africa Aerospace and Defence fair to conclude

Africa’s Aerospace and Defence fair—hosted by South Africa—concludes today. The four-day fair convened 450 aviation and defence industry companies from

South Africa Aerospace and Defence

Turkish drones on display at South Africa hosted Africa Aerospace and Defence fair – Photo: AA photo

Africa’s Aerospace and Defence fair—hosted by South Africa—concludes today.

The four-day fair convened 450 aviation and defence industry companies from 30 countries, including 25 from Turkiye. Ankara’s arms export industry has grown a record 48% from 2021 to $2 billion this year. Sales of military drones make up a core part of that growth.

Buoyed by the major success of Turkish-manufactured Bayraktar military drones in the War in Ukraine, Turkish companies are keen to increase the current global visibility of Turkiye’s defence industry at this defence convention. Given ongoing jihadist terrorism and civil wars, Africa holds huge potential for further Turkish arms sales with export growth increasing from $88 million in 2020 to $288 million in 2021. The lower cost of Turkish military products is tailored towards the more modest budgets of developing countries like those in Africa and Central Asia. In making a big pitch for Africa, Ankara fast-tracked several bilateral agreements this year to facilitate arms sales.

Turkish arms sales—especially military drones—to Africa are almost certain to grow in the near-to-medium term future. Surveillance and strike drones give poorer states like Niger and Togo low-cost air power against highly mobile militants conducting hit-and-run attacks.