Morocco continues to lag behind Algeria despite the rearmament of the Royal Moroccan Air Force.
Moscow – The 2019 Trends in International Arms Transfers Report by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) ranked Morocco among the top three importers of major arms in Africa.
Egypt is the largest importer of arms in the continent and ranked third globally with a share of 5.8% of global major arms imports.
Algeria ranked second in Africa and sixth globally with a 4.2% share of global arms imports, while Morocco only accounted for 0.8%, ranking 31st in the world.
The report identified 160 countries as importers of major arms between 2015 and 2019. The top four importers for the period were Saudi Arabia, India, Egypt, and Australia.
In Africa, arms imports decreased by 16% between 2010-14 and 2015-19.
Algeria, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia accounted for 74% of all African arms imports from 2015 to 2019.
Algeria accounted for 79% of all North African arms imports and has increased its imports by 71% since the 2010-2014 period.
SIPRI notes that the increase “occurred in the context of Algeria’s long-standing tensions with Morocco, internal tensions and concerns about the conflicts in neighboring Mali and Libya.”
Russia remains the largest exporter to Algeria, supplying 67% of Algeria’s arms imports. China and Germany account for 13% and 11% of Algerian arms imports, respectively.
Morocco has decreased its arms imports by 62% between 2010-14 and 2015-19.
The US remains Morocco’s main partner in arms trade. The Americans supplied 91% of all Moroccan arms imports in 2015-2019. It is an increase compared with the numbers from last year’s report that covered 2014-2018. In that period, Morocco received only 62 percent of its arms from the US.
France is the second main supplier to Morocco, providing 8.9% of its arms imports, a sharp decrease compared to France’s share of 36% between 2014 and 2018.
The main reason for the significant increase in Morocco’s arms imports stems from the country’s determination to modernize its Air Force.
Morocco favors American military aircraft and secured several deals with the Americans in 2019. The most notable deals include the $4.25 billion purchase of 36 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters and related equipment and a $3.8 billion deal of 25 F-16 aircraft and associated equipment.
In 2019, Morocco’s arms deals with the US in 2019 totaled $10.3 billion.