Saudi Arabia is currently in talks with the South African defence company Paramount Group to establish a manufacturing base in the country.
The chairman of Paramount Ivor Ichikowitz said, "We are in negotiations with various governments in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, with a view to transferring technology and establishing production in those countries," he said.
As to what exactly Paramount Group would be manufacturing in Saudi Arabia, Ichikowitz declined to say.
Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s largest arms buyers and is seeking international partners to assist the country with developing its manufacturing capabilities. The country aims to manufacture half its military equipment by 2030.
This follows a costly war in Yemen since 2015, in support of the internationally recognised government against the armed Houthi movement.
Paramount Group is a private defence company that employs more than 3,000 people. Its head office is in South Africa and has business contracts across the globe. The company has also set up in-country manufacturing capabilities in Jordan and India. "We see the Middle East as an important growth market for us," Ichikowitz said. Currently, the group also has contracts with several African countries to modernize Soviet-era equipment.