Securing Asia & Africa 2014 (SA&A 2014) the 3rd annual summit was yet again a great success in all areas, commercial, political and academic. The summit provided an arena for a comprehensive expert dissection of Asia & Africa’s’ Homeland Security and Counter Terror challenges, needs, and opportunities in the new age, while simultaneously maximising the commercial opportunities in the broad spectrum of Asian & African markets, and providing unparalleled networking opportunities, all in a single venue.
The summit provides a unique and interactive business-to-business (B2B) platform, allowing representatives from Asian & African nations the chance to meet with Western suppliers and experts. Participating delegationsincluded: Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Ghana, India, Pakistan, Japan, Malawi, Malaysia, Nigeria, Somalia, Somaliland, Turkey and many more.
Day 1 of Securing Asia and Africa 2014 commenced on 14th July 2014 at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, providing a dedicated forum for international delegates and experts from Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe in the field of homeland security and counter-terrorism to exchange their ideas and experiences on the current global climate.
In contrast to the previously successful Securing Asia 2012 and 2013 conferences, Africa was a focal point – the continent was recognized as an integral component of the global homeland security market and enabling the rises in economic growth of Asian countries including India and China. Mr Harry Dhaul, Chairman of the Steering Committee began the day with a welcome address highlighting the growing need of the homeland security industry “to protect the haves from the have-nots till the have-nots become the haves”. This year’s panel produced an outstanding array of individuals to provide a comprehensive insight of the current threats and challenges to global homeland security.
Sir Jonathan Evans, Member of Advisory Board, Facewatch and former Director General of British Security Service MI5 (2007-2013) spoke about his past experience in leading MI5’s work to ensure the safety and security of the London 2012 Olympics. His discussion of this event highlighted the importance of community engagement and including a cyber-dimension to the strategic framework of security operations.
Among the other highlights included Mr Peter Cook, Director and Founder of Security Association for the Maritime Industry (SAMI) who spoke about the “tropical disease” of piracy. He stated that combined with geo-political issues such as territorial disputes, piracy continues to be a multidimensional problem for international maritime security. Of particular interest was the extraordinary first-hand insight provided by Mr Rakesh Maria, Commissioner of Police in the Mumbai 26/11 attacks, who spoke about the lessons learned from the event. He referred to the security operation as “not a failure of intelligence, but a failure of imagination” and emphasized the critical role of the media in security crises through assurance of public morale and establishment of normalcy.
The rapidly growing African homeland security market, projected to reach $344.5bn in 2022, up from $178bn in 2010 has created fierce competition between Asian and Western firms to secure African homeland security contracts. As an international business platform, Securing Asia and Africa 2014 enabled buyers and sellers from Asia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East of the latest security technology to discuss their needs, requirements and ideas. The exhibition provided a successful platform to facilitate not only business deals, but ‘Business to Business’ and “Business to Government” relationships with exposition.
The day started with Mr Maroof Raza; Author; media commentator; mentor Security watch India, who gave a welcome note as well as a recap of day 1.
The second and final day of the Securing Asia & Africa 2014 continued to witness the formation of strategic partnerships between visiting international delegations from Asia and Africa with Western and Asian suppliers of homeland security technological solutions. The exhibitors included leading companies in the industry such as Indianeye Security Pvt. Ltd., Eyewatch, Security Watch India, Pearson Engineering, Armtrac, Westminster Group PLC, Zada and Facewatch collaborated at Securing Asia and Africa 2014 to demonstrate the importance of their technologies.
The products offered at the exhibition ranged from a revolutionary personal safety mobile phone application, robust robots with applications for investigating and analysing threat, face recognition technology, IED simulators, and rail systems.
During the course of the summit, the buyers and sellers of the latest homeland security technology were able to make a number of business meetings and negotiations, as well as enjoy a series of fascinating speeches from the industry’s leading experts and officials. Day 2’s presentations demonstrated the concurrent theme of the increasingly complex reality of the future, which will pose new threats to the internal security of Asia and Africa.
The speakers included Mr. Jonathan Paris, Senior Advisor of the Chertoff Group, who referred to demographic trends and consequently the continual growth of megacities across Asia and Africa as a key challenge to cyber security. Dr. Gal Luft, Co-Director, Institute for the Analysis of Global Security Senior Advisor, United States Energy Security Council outlined both the changing technological and human behavioural dimensions of securing critical energy infrastructure in the cyber era. For his closing remarks at the end of the two highly informative and enlightening days of the conference, Mr Harry Dhaul highlighted the future of freedom and its consequences for international security, which are yet to fully play out on the global arena. He also spoke about the business of trusting ideas and democracy, identifying a key challenge for the future will be reaching agreements between different world views from contrasting cultures.