Uganda has tripled military spending over the last five years to catch up with Kenya from the $346.7 in 2017 compared to Kenya’s $1.015 in the same year- according to new data on global military spending published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
Uganda’s military expenditure reached $1.066 billion last year, an 8.3 percent increase from $984.7m in 2020. Meanwhile, Kenya’s military expenditure reached $1.113 billion last year, a 0.1 percent drop from $1.115 billion in 2020.
Kenya is an economic power house in the region with a GDP of $100 billion followed by Tanzania at $55 billion and Uganda at $32 billion.
“Over the decade 2012–21, Kenya and Uganda have both faced insurgencies that have influenced their military spending. Between 2012 and 2021, military expenditure rose by 203 percent in Uganda but remained relatively stable in Kenya,” SIPRI said in the trends in world military expenditure, 2021.
In 2021 Kenya, Uganda and Angola were, respectively, the third, fourth and fifth largest military spenders in sub-Saharan Africa.
Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo are currently undertaking a joint military operation in eastern DR Congo against the Islamic States-affiliated group, Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).
Total global military expenditure increased by 0.7 per cent in real terms in 2021, to reach $2113 billion. The five largest spenders in 2021 were the United States, China, India, the United Kingdom and Russia, together accounting for 62 per cent of expenditure, according to new data on global military spending by SIPRI.
Military expenditure reaches record level in the second year of the pandemic
World military spending continued to grow in 2021, reaching an all-time high of $2.1 trillion. This was the seventh consecutive year that spending increased.
‘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.’
As a result of a sharp economic recovery in 2021, the global military burden—world military expenditure as a share of world gross domestic product (GDP)—fell by 0.1 percentage points, from 2.3 per cent in 2020 to 2.2 per cent in 2021.
United States focuses on military research and development
US military spending amounted to $801 billion in 2021, a drop of 1.4 per cent from 2020. The US military burden decreased slightly from 3.7 per cent of GDP in 2020 to 3.5 per cent in 2021.
US funding for military research and development (R&D) rose by 24 per cent between 2012 and 2021, while arms procurement funding fell by 6.4 per cent over the same period. In 2021 spending on both decreased. However, the drop in R&D spending (–1.2 per cent) was smaller than that in arms procurement spending (–5.4 per cent).
‘The increase in R&D spending over the decade 2012–21 suggests that the United States is focusing more on next-generation technologies,’ said Alexandra Marksteiner, Researcher with SIPRI’s Military Expenditure and Arms Production Programme. ‘The US Government has repeatedly stressed the need to preserve the US military’s technological edge over strategic competitors.’
Other notable developments:
In 2021 Iran’s military budget increased for the first time in four years, to $24.6 billion. Funding for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps continued to grow in 2021—by 14 per cent compared with 2020—and accounted for 34 per cent of Iran’s total military spending.
Eight European North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) members reached the Alliance’s target of spending 2 per cent or more of GDP on their armed forces in 2021.
Nigeria raised its military spending by 56 per cent in 2021, to reach $4.5 billion. The rise came in response to numerous security challenges such as violent extremism and separatist insurgencies.
Germany—the third largest spender in Central and Western Europe—spent $56.0 billion on its military in 2021, or 1.3 per cent of its GDP. Military spending was 1.4 per cent lower compared with 2020 due to inflation.
In 2021 Qatar’s military spending was $11.6 billion, making it the fifth largest spender in the Middle East. Qatar’s military spending in 2021 was 434 per cent higher than in 2010, when the country last released spending data before 2021.
India’s military spending of $76.6 billion ranked third highest in the world. This was up by 0.9 per cent from 2020 and by 33 per cent from 2012. In a push to strengthen the indigenous arms industry, 64 per cent of capital outlays in the military budget of 2021 were earmarked for acquisitions of domestically produced arms.