The South African military has always kept a vast arsenal of weapons for the last fifteen years. They are considering one of the most advanced armies in Africa with a lot of modern weapons that have been both developed at home and also purchased from overseas partners.
This comes as no surprise as a lot of their weapons originally came from “crowd control” devices that were later redesigned to provide tactical benefits and functionality. These include helicopters, APCs, transports, body armor and assault weapons and pistols which were quickly modified to provide enhanced firepower.
South African weapons have spurred a new economy that has developed in Africa thatallows local companies to sell their arms to other African countries. The result is a massive increase in the amount of weapons sales that is occurring throughout the country.
Kenya is the heart of bullet production in Africa with several large manufacturing centers popping up and producing 20-60,000 bullets per day on average. These factories aren’t run according to the latest safety standards and a lot of workers are at risk of dangerous chemicals or on-site safety issues. Bullets are producing mainly for small arms and also Isreali made Uzis and some 7.62 mm AK type rifles.
While the factories claim to sell only to police and military forces in the area the high volume of surplus would indicate that other sales are being made to support this quickly growing economy. The industry has also expanded into making safe gun technology which is being shipped to the US right now. One of the factories in Kenya is also the world’s largest producer of AR15 optics systems and scopes for US consumers.
Nigeria is also a place where people are making bullets by the truckload almost daily. There is a huge amount of surplus ammo flowing out of Nigeria and funding different wars or instability in various regions of the country.
This is a big issue for a lot of neighboring countries as it becomes increasingly difficult to track the different products being made and keep them safe. We need to keep a tight control on these products and see exactly what’s happening.
Now a hotbed of Chinese investment Sudan has become the place where hundreds of Chinese supported factories have popped up on every corner of the country. This has been good for local business but also a serious problem for anyone hoping to track and actually identify what is coming out of these factories.
Chinese sponsored weapons plants are a big issue that hasn’t been properly addressed and some people even suspect the Chinese have been selling those weapons overseas as well using locally sourced labor.
While the future of the African weapons industry isn’t well known it does have a lot more room to grow. As the industry expands we’re going to see more overseas influence into the local markets and perhaps a bit more oversight and not the games we are seeing now. Drop a comment below and let us know what you think.