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Africa ordered €550 million worth of military hardware from France in 2016

An ACMAT Bastion APC in Mali.African nations ordered €550 million worth of military equipment from France in 2016, and received €326 million worth of equipment last year, according to a French Ministry for the Armed Forces 2017 report.

The report, submitted to the French Parliament in July, reveals that France sold a total of €13.9 billion worth of military equipment around the world in 2016, down from €16.9 billion the year before and €8.2 billion in 2014. The European nation in 2016 delivered a total of €7.121 billion worth of equipment, up from €6.2 billion the year before.

In 2016 North Africa ordered €170.4 million worth of military equipment from France, up from €111.8 million in 2015, including €16.7 million from Tunisia, €89.9 million from Morocco, and €63.7 million from Algeria. This excludes Egypt (which in the report falls under the Middle East), which ordered €623 million worth of hardware in 2016.

Sub-Saharan Africa ordered €379.9 million worth of military equipment from France in 2016, up from €89.6 million in 2015. Botswana was the biggest customer, ordering €304.2 million worth of equipment, believed to primarily comprise of MICA Vertical Launch and Mistral surface-to-air missiles from MBDA.

This was followed by Nigeria (€27.6 million), South Africa (€20.6 million), Cameroon (€8 million), Uganda (€5.2 million), Somalia (€4 million), and Ethiopia (€3.6 million).

Actual French deliveries are recorded separately, and for North Africa in 2016 total €235.9 million (€107 million to Algeria, €127 million to Morocco and €1 million to Tunisia). The Moroccan figures may be related to orders for a Helios-2 observation satellite and landing craft.

These figures exclude €1.3 billion worth of deliveries to Egypt (Egypt is receiving four Gowind corvettes, two Mistral class LHDs, a FREMM frigate and 24 Rafale fighters from France).

Last year sub-Saharan Africa received €90.8 million worth of equipment, including €30 million to Senegal (probably for its OPV-190 offshore patrol vessel), €3 million to Togo, €6 million to Mali, €6 million to Gabon, €16 million to Cameroon, €8.5 million to Botswana and €8.3 million to South Africa. The Gabonese figure may be related to a 2014 order for 12 Aravis armoured personnel carriers – Gabon has also ordered an OPV-50 offshore patrol vessel and P-400 patrol craft from France.

The South African deliveries were most likely for subsystems for the Badger infantry fighting vehicle being built by Denel Land Systems – it uses some French components, such as sights. French company Sagem is supplying MATIS thermal imagers for the Badger.

The report does not detail most of the actual equipment delivered, but did note that in 2016, 605 9 mm pistols were supplied to Cote d’Ivoire; 500 9 mm pistols to Mali, 200 12 gauge shotguns to Burkina Faso; 300 assault rifles to Cote d’Ivoire; and 20 12.7 mm machineguns to Guinea.

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s arms transfer database, in 2016 France transferred several patrol vessels to Angola and the last of three RPB33 patrol craft to Cote d’Ivoire. With US funding, several African nations have received ACMAT Bastion armoured personnel carriers for peacekeeping duties and these include Tunisia (4), Uganda (17), Somalia (13), Mali (5) and Ethiopia (12).


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