Israeli arms sales to Africa mark steep rise in past year
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Israeli arms sales to Africa mark steep rise in past year

Weapons industry exports up 40% in 2014 compared to 2013, but sales worldwide drop by nearly $1 billion

An Israeli 'Ethan' drone, in the service of the Israeli Air Force (Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)
An Israeli 'Ethan' drone, in the service of the Israeli Air Force (Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)

Israeli exports of weapons to African countries rose by 40 percent in 2014 compared with the previous year, according to Defense Ministry data published last week.

But overall foreign arms exports to foreign countries were down compared to 2013 by nearly $1 billion in 2014, the data published in Haaretz showed.

Israeli security industries signed deals worth $318 million in Africa, compared with $223 million in 2013, which was the previous all-time high.

Arms deals with African countries have risen steadily on an annual basis since 2009 ($77 million), with only a slight dip in 2012 ($107 million) compared with 2011 ($127 million).

Rafael Advanced Defense Systems' surface-to-air missile system is on display in Singapore Friday, Feb. 14, 2014. (photo credit: AP Photo/Joseph Nair)
Rafael Advanced Defense Systems’ surface-to-air missile system is on display in Singapore Friday, Feb. 14, 2014. (photo credit: AP Photo/Joseph Nair)

Nevertheless, African states are still not considered major buyers: Asian and Pacific countries acquired Israeli military technology and arms worth $3 billion in 2014, compared to just under a third of a billion dollars in sales to Africa.

An unnamed security industry official was quoted in the report saying that African and Latin American countries are still regarded as “developing countries,” states where the demand for military technology as well as arms for law enforcement agencies continues to grow annually.

Overall, Israeli defense industries signed deals worth a total of $5.66 billion in 2014, compared with around $6.5 billion in 2013. Among the high profile deals was a $525 million agreement with India to buy Israel’s guided Spike missiles, which were widely used during last summer’s Operation Protective Edge.

According to a ministry official, the drop in demand can be attributed to a drop in defense budgets of several global buyers, as well as demands by governments to equip security forces with locally manufactured arms.

Israel is one of the world’s top 10 weapons exporters. According to the ministry, most agreements in 2014 focused on upgrading fighter aircraft and other aeronautical systems, sales of electronic warfare and communications equipment, armaments and defense systems for combat aircraft, radars and UAVs.

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