SIPRI’s latest report does not mention Morocco, but the institute’s database shows the difference in military expenditures between the two North African neighbors.
Rabat – The 2018 Trends in World Military Expenditure report that the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) released in April 2019 announced that Algeria had “by far the highest military spending in Africa” with a total of $9.6 billion in 2018.
“While in nominal terms Algeria’s military spending has remained the same since 2016, inflation meant that military expenditure fell in real terms by 6.1 per cent between 2017 and 2018,” said the report.
SIPRI did not list Morocco in the report, but the institute’s database shows that Algeria spent nearly triple on its military as Morocco did in 2018 at $3.5 billion.
Morocco’s military budget slightly increased from MAD 29.4 billion ($3.2 billion) in 2012 to MAD 34.7 billion in 2018 ($3.5 billion).
While Algeria has experienced months of crisis in 2019, the role of its military has remained dominant. Top military figures have taken the lead during the transition period after President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s resignation early in April.
Before Bouteflika resigned, army chief Gaid Salah took the initiative to call for application of Article 102 of the Algerian Constitution to declare the president incapacitated. Salah retained influence despite the fall of Bouteflika’s government, which deprived him from his role as a deputy minister of military.
Many protesters have called for the Algerian military to stay out of politics.
SIPRI’s recent report said that military spending in Africa fell by 8.4% in 2018, with a total of $40.6 billion, 2.2% of global military spending.
Military spending in North Africa totalled $22.2 billion in 2018, representing a 5.5% decrease compared with 2017 but still 74% higher than spending in 2009.
The world spent approximately $1.822 trillion in 2018, 2.6% more than in 2017.
The top five countries with the highest military expenditures were the US, China, Saudi Arabia, India, and France.
The top five countries accounted for 60% of global military spending.
Algeria fifth largest arms importer
The Swedish institute also ranked Algeria among the top five importers of major arms in the world between 2014 and 2018 in its 2018 Trends in International Arms Transfers report.
Algeria ranked fifth and imports 4.4% of the world’s traded arms, while Morocco ranked 24th with only 1.1 % share of arms imports.
Algeria received the majority of its arms from Russia, accounting for 66% of Algerian arms imports in 2014-2018, although the percentage was down from 90% in 2009-2013.
Morocco, on the other hand, received 62% of its arms from the US in the period of 2014-2018.
France is also a key supplier for Morocco. In the 2014-2018 period, Morocco received 32% of its major arms from France.
The top four importers are India, Australia, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia.