Paramount Group CEO Ivor Ichikowitz calls for developing world to lead defence innovation

Paramount Group CEO Ivor Ichikowitz calls for developing world to lead defence innovation
# 13 May 2010 08:28 (UTC +04:00)
Mr Ichikowitz places developing countries at the centre of his vision as being those best positioned to capitalise on a global era of modernisation and change in defence and security requirements.

The South African industrialist, who founded Paramount Group in 1994, believes that the unprecedented demands of the 21st Century in terms of the changing face of conflict, peacekeeping, domestic unrest and insurgency require a step change in delivery and acquisition of equipment, training, logistics and support for effective defence and peacekeeping.

He has set out his future vision to coincide with SOFEX 2010, the biennial international industry event in Jordan.

Mr Ichikowitz said: "The new approach to defence industrial development which Paramount Group is pioneering has at its heart the provision of extended economic benefits, with defence industrial policy supporting broader development through the creation of jobs, industrial innovation and export potential.

"If developing countries are to build forces fit for this century, capability providers need to deliver solutions tailored to their unique national requirements.

"That will mean developing nations taking the reins of innovation and leadership to develop a bold new approach. We need to see a new kind of relationship between governments and industry, one that goes beyond the traditional defence industry response of providing ’one size fits all’ off-the-shelf platforms."

Paramount Group has been active in pursuing a new model of defence industry investment that is rooted in developing countries and responds to their requirements.

In India and Azerbaijan, Paramount is partnering and stimulating new growth directly with domestic suppliers to deliver high quality specialist equipment shaped by the specific needs of those countries.

Mr Ichikowitz continued: "It seems clear that the European defence industry will continue to contract as spending is squeezed while in the US, industry is geared towards the high end requirements of the Department of Defense.

"Traditionally the solutions offered in a ’conventional’ approach to answering force modernisation needs are expensive, include capabilities beyond what is really required, are difficult to integrate into existing force structures and often come with caveats about how they can be operated, maintained and upgraded.

"But that has to change. The developing world faces particular challenges presented by the greater potential for domestic unrest and insurgency. This means that providers with an in-depth understanding of the need for bespoke solutions are best placed to offer the kind of protection forces require."

Mr Ichikowitz believes that the aerospace and defence industry offers significant development opportunities for developing countries.

He said: "The importance of the aerospace and defence business as a key economic driver should not be underestimated. For developing countries the creation of domestic aerospace and defence industries offers huge potential and opportunities, especially to drive innovation and act as a springboard for other high tech sectors.

"It is clear that innovation is increasingly coming from developing countries. What is required now is the creation of a new way of thinking for the defence industry over its relationship with the developing world.
"National governments and suppliers should come together to ensure that industrial capabilities are nourished and supported and that access to quality equipment and services is guaranteed. Only by adopting a new perspective can we take full advantage of the opportunities presented by this period of modernisation and change."