African Military Spending Was Down

According to a report by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), African military spending was down by 0.5% to an estimated $42.6 billion in 2017, or 2.5% of global military spending.
“This continued the downward trend from the post-Cold War peak reached in 2014, although the decrease tapered off in 2017. Despite three consecutive ears of decreases, military expenditure in Africa was still 28% higher in 2017 than in 2008”, SIPRI noted.

Military spending in North Africa fell by 1.9% between 2016 and 2017 to an estimated $21.1 billion. This was the first annual decrease in military spending in the subregion since 2006. Nonetheless, spending in 2017 was 105% higher than in 2008.

Algeria, Africa’s largest spender, decreased its military expenditure by 5.2% between 2016 and 2017 to $10.1 billion. This was the first annual decrease in its military spending since 2003 and only the second annual decrease since 1995, SIPRI reports. “The decline in Algeria’s military expenditure in 2017 was probably related to low oil and gas revenues in recent years”.

According to SIPRI, military expenditure in sub-Saharan Africa in 2017 amounted to $21.6 billion, up 0.9% from 2016 but 6.8% lower than in 2008. “A substantial surge in Sudan’s military expenditure in 2017 (by 35% to $4.4 billion), mainly due to intensified fighting between the Sudanese Government and rebels—drove the upward trend, but this was partly counteracted by decreases by three of the four largest spenders in the subregion: Angola, Nigeria and South Africa”. Principal of those was the continued drop in Angola’s military expenditure (by 16%) as part of government spending cuts. While Angola was the largest military spender in sub-Saharan Africa in 2014 with 26% of the subregional total, it fell to third in 2017 (with 14% of the total), behind Sudan and South Africa.

“Nigeria’s military expenditure fell for the fourth consecutive year in 2017, by 4.2% to $1.6 billion, despite continued military operations against Boko Haram. Military spending in South Africa, the second largest spender in sub-Saharan Africa, has stabilised at around $3.6 billion per annum since 2012. Its military spending decreased marginally in 2017, by 1.9%”, SIPRI said.

There were also notable cuts in military spending in 2017 in South Sudan (–56%), Chad (–33%), Mozambique (–21%) and Côte d’Ivoire (–19%). The decline in Côte d’Ivoire’s military spending, the first annual decrease since 2013, was the result of the sharp drop in world prices for cocoa, the country’s main export. In South Sudan, despite the ongoing conflict, the worsening economic conditions led to further reductions in military spending.

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