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    African countries increased defence expenditure to $40bn in 2021

    African countries increased defence expenditure to $40bn in 2021

    April 26, 2022

    Nigerian soldiers in Borno battling insurgents

    MILITARY expenditure by African countries increased overall by 1.2 per cent in 2021 to an estimated $39.7 billion, according to new data on global military spending published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) on April 25.

    It said this total was almost evenly split between sub-Saharan Africa (51 per cent of the regional total) and North Africa (49 per cent).

    Sub-Saharan Africa spent $20.1 billion, 4.1 per cent higher than in 2020, but 14 per cent lower than in 2012.

    The 2021 increase, the first since 2014, was primarily driven by Nigeria, the biggest spender in the sub-region.

    The country’s military spending rose by 56 per cent in 2021, to reach $4.5 billion in response to numerous security challenges such as violent extremism and separatist insurgencies,

    The SIPRI report said that South Africa, the second largest spender in the sub-region, slashed its military budget by 13 per cent, to $3.3 billion in 2021 due to the country’s prolonged economic stagnation.

    Kenya, Uganda and Angola were, respectively, the third, fourth and fifth largest military spenders in sub-Saharan Africa last year.

    Over the decade, 2012–21, Kenya and Uganda both faced insurgencies that influenced their military spending, SIPRI said.

    Between 2012 and 2021, military expenditure rose by 203 per cent in Uganda but remained relatively stable in Kenya, down by 4.5 per cent.

    In Angola, spending fell by 66 per cent over the same period due to the worsening economic conditions in Angola.

    This was largely caused by low oil prices and slumps in its oil production since 2015, followed by the slow pace of economic recovery in more recent years.

    In 2021 North African military expenditure totalled $19.6 billion, 1.7 per cent lower than in 2020, but 29 per cent higher than in 2012.

    The long-standing tensions between the two largest spenders in North Africa – Algeria and Morocco – worsened in 2021.

    Algeria’s military expenditure fell by 6.1 per cent in 2021, to reach $9.1 billion, while Morocco’s spending grew by 3.4 per cent, to $5.4 billion.

    Between 2012 and 2021, African military spending followed three distinct trends: first rising continuously between 2012 and 2014, followed by four years of decline until 2018 and then three consecutive years of growth until 2021, to give an overall increase of 2.5 per cent, the SIPRI report said.

    In general, SIPRI said that world military expenditure last year surpassed $2 trillion for the first time, an increase of 0.7 per cent in real terms.

    The five largest spenders in 2021 – the US, China, India, the UK and Russia – together accounted for 62 per cent of expenditure.

    “Even amid the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic, world military spending hit record levels,” said Dr Diego Lopes da Silva, Senior Researcher with SIPRI’s Military Expenditure and Arms Production Programme.

    “There was a slowdown in the rate of real-terms growth due to inflation.

    “In nominal terms, however, military spending grew by 6.1 per cent.”

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