Andrew Pearcey, CEO of World Defense Show 2024 to «ALJUNDI»: Growing international interest in “Saudi Defence Market” promises growth in the number of visitors & the value of transactions

The 2nd edition of the World Defence Show‭, ‬held under the patronage of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques‭, ‬King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud‭, ‬in Riyadh from February 4‭ ‬to 8‭, ‬2024‭, ‬constitutes a valuable opportunity to showcase the latest defence and security technologies and innovations‭. ‬

The exhibition brings together leading companies and military experts to exchange knowledge and provide effective solutions for‭ ‬global security challenges‭.‬

This event serves as a unique platform to enhance international cooperation and strengthen defence capabilities‭, ‬contributing to‭ ‬regional and global stability‭.‬

The organization of the exhibition aligns with the ambitious vision of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to develop and modernize the‭ ‬military sector‭, ‬reflecting its commitment to promoting global peace and security‭.‬

To get a closer look at the key features and highlights of the exhibition’s second edition‭, ‬Al Jundi Journal interviewed Mr Andrew Pearcey‭, ‬the CEO of the World Defence Show and had the following dialogue with him‭:‬

‮‬Interviewed by: «‭‬‭ALJUNDI JOURNAL»‬

Tell us about the World Defense Show 2024‭ ‬and the new features that the second edition of the exhibition will offer this year

The second edition of the World Defense Show‭, ‬themed on the future of Defence and security industry‭, ‬is extended in duration‭, ‬extended in exhibition floorspace‭, ‬and hosts more exhibitors from many more countries‭.‬

Following an exclusive preview day‭, ‬visitors are welcomed from 5-8‭ ‬February‭, ‬with access to three busy content theatres‭, ‬three packed exhibition halls and expansive static and dynamic daily displays of land and aerospace assets‭. ‬Highlighting our innovation‭ ‬and technology theme‭, ‬AIDA‭, ‬the show’s digital guide will lead visitors through our Journey to the Future‭, ‬an immersive experience that showcases the event’s future‭-‬focused features‭, ‬exhibits‭, ‬and product debuts‭.‬

Within the Journey to the Future are two new features‭ ‬–‭ ‬the Defense Space Arena and the Future of Defense Hub‭. ‬The Defense Space Arena‭, ‬incorporating the Space Theatre and Defense Space Domain‭, ‬recognizes the importance of a domain that is transforming national security‭, ‬and will serve as a platform to promote‭ ‬international collaboration‭, ‬showcase cutting-edge space capabilities and technologies‭, ‬and contribute to global discussions on‭ ‬space-related matters‭.‬

The Future of Defense Hub offers a dedicated platform for breakthroughs in Defence technology‭. ‬It is a showcase for innovators‭, ‬inventors‭, ‬and entrepreneurs to demonstrate the concepts and technologies that could transform the future global Defence industry and offers them the opportunity to pitch their proposals to the primes and industry leaders attending the event‭.‬

Two of the World Defense Show’s proven successful and valuable features will return but in a new and improved form‭. ‬B2B Connect‭, ‬the event’s networking program has been extended from two to three days‭, ‬building on demand from the success of the inaugural show‭. ‬The program‭, ‬which is open to registered exhibitors and visitors‭, ‬uses a sophisticated match-making system to ensure efficient connections based on shared interests‭.‬

Our unique Meet the KSA Government program will run over two days this year and provides a unique platform for exhibitors and visitors to connect with key representatives from KSA government entities‭, ‬offering insights into procurement‭, ‬investment‭, ‬and partnership processes within the Saudi Defence sector‭. ‬It is a crucial enabler for Saudi Vision 2030‭, ‬specifically supporting its objective to localize 50%‭ ‬of Defence expenditure by 2030‭. ‬

Who should be an exhibitor at the World Defense Show 2024‭? ‬

Anyone who is involved or who wishes to be involved in the global Defence industry‭, ‬but particularly those who wish to do business with Saudi Arabia‭, ‬whether they are looking to develop private sector partnerships or procure government contracts‭. ‬Our exhibitors range from primes to start-ups‭, ‬across five domains and the entire supply chain‭.‬

I have mentioned our Meet the KSA Government Program‭, ‬but the high-level partnership opportunities are not limited to the Kingdom’s governmental representation‭. ‬The show’s Delegations Program connects more than 219‭ ‬delegations from more than 147‭ ‬countries with exhibitors looking to expand into their specific markets‭, ‬giving the exhibitors an unrivalled opportunity to interact with high-level international dignitaries and military representatives‭. ‬These connections form the backbone of business-to-business and business-to-government relationships‭, ‬contributing significantly to the advancement of the global Defence industry‭.‬

What are your expectations for the World Defense Show 2024‭ ‬in general and the size of the local and international participation‭ ‬in this session‭?‬

We are delighted with both the international and local participation‭. ‬Saudi Arabia is naturally once again the biggest exhibiting country‭, ‬with representation from a variety of companies across the entire Defence supply chain‭. ‬However‭, ‬international representation has also grown tremendously‭. ‬This year we will host exhibitors from‭ ‬‮٧٧‬‭ ‬countries‭. ‬This includes 23‭ ‬countries who are participating for the first time‭, ‬while many of those returning have taken expanded pavilions‭. ‬Turkey‭, ‬for example‭, ‬is a first-time exhibitor‭, ‬but is the second-largest country represented at the show‭. ‬

Our inaugural event took place in 2022‭, ‬at the tail end of the COVID-19‭ ‬epidemic‭, ‬when travel was still challenging for many people‭, ‬and yet we welcomed 65,000‭ ‬visits from attendees from 85‭ ‬countries and announced more than SAR 29.7‭ ‬billion of deals signed‭ ‬over the four days‭. ‬With the second show running over five days‭, ‬the exhibition site expanded by 25%‭, ‬travel to Saudi increasingly easy‭, ‬and growing international interest in all that the Saudi Defence market can offer‭, ‬we expect to see the number of visitors and value of deals signed during the event grow further‭. ‬

Do visitors really have access to experts and industry leaders through such an event‭? ‬

We have three Content Theatres at the World Defense Show‭. ‬Over the five days‭, ‬senior representatives from government entities‭, ‬military‭, ‬academia and industry will address the gathered audiences on the subjects most important to the future development of the industry‭. ‬As well as ongoing high-level discussions in the Future Defense Leadership Forum‭, ‬we have the Defense Technology Theatre in Hall 1‭, ‬the Future Innovation Theatre in Hall 2‭ ‬and the Space Theatre in Hall 3‭. ‬

These theatres act as a hub for discussion and collaboration‭. ‬The theatre content is themed over the days‭, ‬with a daily focus that covers exploiting innovation‭, ‬integrating technology‭, ‬diversity‭, ‬women in Defence‭, ‬and future talent‭. ‬The inaugural event in‭ ‬2022‭ ‬introduced the World Defense Show as a global facilitator for the networking and cross-border partnerships that drive innovation in the industry‭, ‬as well as the international showcase for technological advances across all five domains‭. ‬The calibre of‭ ‬the speakers addressing WDS 2024‭ ‬consolidates our role as the emerging platform for collaboration‭, ‬connection and cooperation within the global Defence industry and the hub of future technology‭. ‬

Do you have any message that you would like to send to the readers through Al-Jundi Journal‭?‬

This is an unmissable opportunity for anyone in the security and Defence industry as well as government entites from around the‭ ‬world‭.‬

The World Defense Show 2024‭ ‬is the global platform for the sharing of ideas‭, ‬challenges and solutions‭; ‬and a secure space to demonstrate unknown capabilities and debut technological advances‭. ‬It is here that the all-important partnerships between the civilian world technology builders‭, ‬Defence industry innovators and world governments are forged‭. ‬With the inestimable value of networking and interacting with peers and colleagues from every domain‭, ‬across the supply chain‭, ‬can you afford not to be there‭?


Andrew Pearcey: CEO of World Defense Show

Stepping into the role of CEO shortly before the debut event in 2022, he has built on the strong foundations of the successful inaugural event to deliver a bigger and more diverse show in 2024.

He is responsible for the show’s overall organization and success, partnering closely with the General Authority for Military Industries (GAMI) and National Strategic Partner SAMI.

He has 25 years of experience as an all-round strategic and commercial professional with challenging positions in events, advertising, brand management and sponsorship with clients ranging from telecoms to food and beverage.

He led and delivered high-profile partnerships and events, and his most recent position was a board director with Farnborough International.

Al Jundi

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