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Thursday, April 21, 2011

African Military Spending Rises Despite Recession -- Part of the Problem?

Military spending rose by 5.2 per cent in Africa last year, defying a global recession that halved the continent's growth, a new study shows.

The region's total military expenditure in real terms was an estimated Sh2.5 trillion ($30.1 billion), according to the analysis by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri).

Angola, which is recovering from three decades of civil war, set the pace with a 19 per cent increase in real terms, or Sh51 billion ($600 million) in 2009 prices.

This figure is 4.2 per cent of its gross domestic product. During the civil war, its vast oil wealth and diamonds paid for arms.

Figures for Cote d'Ivoire are missing, but in 2008 the West African country spent 1.5 per cent of its GDP on its military.

The effect of the five-month unrest in the country on new spending is unlikely to be known, while the United Nations also placed an arms embargo on it.

Four of the continent's five top spenders - Angola, Morocco, Algeria and Nigeria - provided for the bulk of the spending increase, mainly influenced by gas and oil revenues. (read more)