The Finnish government has released a report on its defence exports in 2016, which included weapons and equipment to a number of African countries, including South Africa.
In total, Finland authorised eight export licenses to Sub-Saharan Africa in 2016 worth 3.1 million euros, although the value of actual exports was 7.4 million euros, accounting for 5.57% of total actual exports by the Nordic country.
The most commonly exported items were body armour or protective garments, which were received by Burundi (46 591 euros worth), Cameroon (15 030 euros), the Central African Republic (115 000 euros), Niger (7 758 euros), Nigeria (34 345 euros), Somalia (70 275 euros), Sudan (3 160 euros), Republic of Congo (21 822 euros), Mali (28 360 euros), Chad (25 814 euros) and Ghana (15 800 euros).
Botswana received 20 items listed as “imaging or countermeasure equipment, components and accessories” worth 502 729 euros.
Kenya received 343 086 euros worth of ground vehicles and components as well as 900 euros worth of body armour or protective garments.
Namibia received 2 382 euros worth of “sniper rifles, silencers and accessories” while Senegal received 342 840 euros worth.
South Africa was the largest African customer for Finland, and received 100 559 euros worth of sniper rifles, silencers and accessories, 10 426 euros worth of ammunition and accessories (900 pieces) and 17 680 euros worth of “fire control and related alerting and warning equipment, and related systems, tests and alignment and countermeasure equipment, specially designed for military use, and specially designed components and accessories therefor. ” In 2016 South Africa also acquired 648 120 euros wroth of unmanned aircraft, related equipment and components (one item).
The biggest items relate to the Badger programme and covered 5 804 166 euros worth of “ground vehicles and components.” The first 16 of 242 Badger infantry fighting vehicles for the South African Army were due to be manufactured by Patria in Finland and the rest in South Africa by Denel Land Systems. Deliveries of the first 88 are on track for early 2019 and deliveries of the rest are set to conclude in 2022.
Total Finnish defence exports in 2016 amounted to 133 million euros, primarily to the European Union and Middle East (20 million euros and 83 million euros respectively). The majority of exports were for military vehicles, followed by protective equipment and smoothbore weapons.
For comparison, Finland exported 99 million euros worth of military equipment in 2015 and 222 million euros in 2014. For 2013 this figure stood at 224 million euros, more than four times that of 2006’s figures.