Sweden stands shoulder to shoulder with South Africa

South Africa and Sweden share a bond that stretches as far back as the settlers in the 1600’s to more recent times when Sweden showed staunch support for the freedom movement during the latter part of the last century.

Nelson Mandela and then-prime minister Ingvar Carlsson. Photo: Gunnar Lundmark (sverigesradio.se)

In the South African defence sector, this bond is forged by Saab Grintek Defence (SGD), a defence and Security Company co-owned by local South African interests and the mother company Saab AB in Sweden.

Saab AB, through Saab Grintek Defence, is in Africa and particularly South Africa to stay. Saab AB is a global defence and security company with one of the world’s largest portfolios ranging from the Gripen supersonic fighter to submarines and virtually everything in between. Although Saab has offices and operations in well over thirty countries and do business with over 100 countries, the largest contingent outside Sweden is in South Africa. This is a true token of a long standing bond between two countries far apart geographically, yet neighbours in co-operation.

Saab Grintek Defence builds upon exceptional local knowledge within electronic warfare, command & control, civil security and avionics. The company develops, produces and exports a wide range of products for land, naval, air and civil applications, and over the past two years has won the Best South African Export Company award from the Department of Trade and Industry.

In addition to bringing in export revenue through state-of-the art exports, Saab Grintek Defence provides jobs and income for over 600 South African citizens working in its facilities in Gauteng and the Western Cape.

Africa, and particularly Sub Saharan Africa, is currently attracting enormous attention worldwide as it is the continent with the youngest population, and is also home to the majority of the fastest-growing economies of the world. As countries and economies mature and grow so the demand for security also increases. Saab AB has identified this and has created a hub in South Africa from where it markets the greater Saab AB’s product portfolio onto the continent.

Over the last few years Saab AB and Saab Grintek Defence’s presence on the continent has increased with offices and operations in Kenya, Botswana and Somalia, and the growth is likely to continue and broaden over the coming decade.