JOHANNESBURG, Sept. 20, 2012 /CNW/ - Africa needs engineers as much as
doctors to stop people dying needlessly, according to the South African
entrepreneur Ivor Ichikowitz.
The industrialist says so many more people will survive if sanitation is
made more effective, clean water better transported and other projects
better maintained - that the importance of engineers to Africa should
be put on a par with medical staff.
Ivor Ichikowitz is the founder of Paramount Group, Africa's largest privately owned defence and aerospace business, which
employs 1,500 people, including hundreds of highly skilled engineers.
He said: "Across Africa, poor sanitation systems and environmental
defences consistently lead to people requiring medical support,
particularly during floods and droughts.
"If we dedicated more engineers and investment to pro-actively tackling
these problems in the first place then we could save many more lives
across the continent and doctors could tackle other emergencies."
According to research, South Africa, the most developed African state,
only has 473 engineers per million people, as opposed to developed
countries such as Japan which have 3,306 per million.
The 'spill over' effect created by demand for equipment amongst
suppliers also stimulates the development of engineering skills
throughout the economy.
Paramount Group, a South African company which manufactures equipment
for peacekeeping, internal security and defence forces across the
globe, is one of the fastest growing defence and aerospace companies in
Under the leadership of Mr Ichikowitz, the group has seen annual growth
soar by up to 50% year after year and turnover is expected to reach
US$1billion by 2015.
The company is taking on the global manufacturers at their own game,
shaking up the industry through a winning combination of 100% African
design and engineering to world-class standards and by developing with
global partnerships to expand into new markets.
The company launched its new vehicle, the Marauder Patrol, at this
year's trade show, African Aerospace and Defence (AAD) 2012.
The versatile Marauder Patrol will be the best-protected vehicle in this
light class. It is aimed at military, police and Special Forces that
require an agile and quick response vehicle for tough environments.
Mr Ichikowitz said: "For Africa to reach its full potential we need to
drive a new era of industrialisation across the continent.
"No advanced economy has developed without a strong defence industry.
Africa will be no different."
SOURCE: Paramount Group
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