Why is Saudi Arabia’s World Defense Show a crucial platform for the global defense industry?

12 August 2020
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Updated 12 August 2020

Why is Saudi Arabia’s World Defense Show a crucial platform for the global defense industry?

The General Authority for Military Industries (GAMI) recently announced the launch of the World Defense Show, a unique and fully integrated event that will demonstrate the latest technological developments and unveil solutions for interoperability across the five defense domains: Air, land, sea, security and satellites.
Given my role at GAMI — the founder of the World Defense Show — I get asked why is Saudi Arabia doing this? Why now? Does the world need another defense show?
The answer to these questions is twofold. Yes, delivering a platform that brings together the world of defense in Riyadh is key for Saudi Arabia’s plans to industrialize its defense sector. More importantly though, the defense world has been calling for one of its biggest influencers to step in and contribute to where defense is heading, at a time where security has become the world’s strongest currency.
In today’s world order, no country can seek to maintain stability on its own, particularly because safety is no longer confined to securing your geographic boundaries. The World Defense Show is, first and foremost, a call for collaboration, bringing nations together to explore business opportunities, lay the foundations for future defense innovations and form strategic alliances that will help to ensure peace and stability.
Addressing the challenges faced by the defense industry today requires clear leadership to steer the dialogue and facilitate innovative solutions. The defense and security industry has a duty to explore fully integrated and interoperable defense solutions that can address the future’s major security challenges. The event will assist by providing a platform to demonstrate the latest technologies, capabilities, and emerging industrial trends from all over the world, right here in the Kingdom.
It is more than a show — it is an opportunity to engage industry experts and thought leaders from all over the world and benefit from their collective vision for the industry. In fact, in developing the concept for the World Defense Show, we have built on decades of experience from other global events and comprehensive studies of what the defense ecosystem needs. This event aims to visualize today what the defense landscape might look like years or decades ahead, offering innovators and manufacturers insight into future defense priorities and initiatives. It will actively support technicians and industrialists who dare to push boundaries and explore new dimensions of defense.
As an industry regulator and leader, GAMI aspires to localize more than 50 percent of the Kingdom’s military expenditure by 2030. This presents multibillion-dollar partnership opportunities to nations who share our commitment to localization and our vision for the sector.
Investment is a critical instigator of change. As global defense expenditure nears the $2 trillion mark, we need to ensure that we are collaborating to address tomorrow’s defense challenges and directing investments toward disruptive ideas and defense tech startups that will shape the industry’s future.
As we gear up to welcome the world of defense in Riyadh in March 2022, Saudi Arabia, the world’s top improver in the most recent Doing Business report by the World Bank, continues to emerge as one of the best gateways for business growth. When it comes to investments in defense, it is hard to name a market that can match what the Kingdom has to offer today.

• Ahmad Al-Ohali is the governor of the General Authority for Military Industries.