African defence spending tops US$27 billion


Africa spent at least US$27.4 billion on defence last year, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) says in its just-released 2010 yearbook. This is, however, just 1.76% of the about US$1531 billion (at current prices) in military expenditure worldwide in the last calendar year.

SIPRI warns that the figure and other estimates for Africa could be higher as its 2009 totals “are uncertain due to missing data for some countries.” The think-tank says it estimates total military expenditure at US$10 billion in North Africa and US$17.4 billion in sub-Saharan Africa. The Stockholm-based agency says spending in 2009 increased by 6.5% in real terms over 2008 – 7.7% in North Africa and 5.1% in sub- Saharan Africa – and by 62% compared to 2000 (107% in North Africa and 42% in sub-Saharan Africa).

This is higher than the global average of 5.9% over 2008 figures and 49% over the year 2000 data. The market in Africa is overwhelmingly determined by five major-spending countries, SIPRI adds,naming them as Algeria, Angola, Morocco, Nigeria and South Africa. Increases last year by the big spenders continued longer-term trends: over the decade 2000–2009 military spending rose in real terms by 127% in Morocco, 105% in Algeria, 101% in Nigeria, 53% in South Africa and 40% in Angola.

The regional increase was partially offset by a substantial fall in Chad, from an unprecedented high level of spending in 2008, due to a fall in oil revenues. SIPRI noted that between 2000 and 2008, Chad’s defence spending ballooned 663%. It cited Chad as well as Nigeria and Algeria as examples of states where oil and gas revenues were a significant factor behind military spending.

SIPRI also noted significant increases also by regional powers such as China, India and Brazil and stated spending increased in all regions and sub-regions except in the Middle East.