Africa’s Military Spending Excessive: Mozambique Is an Exception

June 8th, 2005 - by admin

– 2005-06-08 09:58:32

‘Africa’s Military Budget Spending Too High’
Daily Trust (Abuja)

NASIR IMAM (May 31, 2005) — A workshop holding in Abuja on military budgeting processes in Africa has described military spending in Africa as being too high.

The two-day workshop, organised by the London-based Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), the African Security Dialogue and Research (ASDR) Accra, in partnership with the Stockholm International Peace Research (SIPRT), also said defence institutions in Africa are starved of resources and their capabilities are limited.

Mr. Wuyi Omitoogun of SIPRI, at the workshop on Monday, said that an examination of the process of budgeting for the military sector in Africa would provide a better understanding of the reasons for the level of spending and reliability of the budget than a simple search for the final budget figure for defence.

Mr. Wuyi said that most developing countries were wasting resources on the military while starving the social sector of funds.

“Issues such as diversion of resources for defence purposes and the proper balance between expenditure on security and on development were already part of the discernment discourse in the developing world as far back as the 1970’s,” said Mr. Wuyi.

Also speaking at the workshop, head of CDD, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, said that the conclusion at the workshop were based on research on eight countries namely; Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mali Mozambique, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and South Africa.

The research, Dr. Fayemi said, concluded that to achieve balance between the interlinked priorities of security and development; African countries should develop documented defence policies to guide the budgetary process.

African counties, he added, should build institu-tions supported by political commitment to deliver and maintain the policy and also recognise the constraint of the specific context in African countries.

Major General Lev Le Roux (rtd.), in his own contributions said that in most countries studied, the level of accountability is affected by a lack of transparency and the existence of strong informal networks.

“This contrasts sharply with the jailing of a former Head of State of South African parliament’s defence comm-ittee who was found guilty of taking bribes in the course of negotiating the country’s strategic defence procurement packages,” Roux said.

Mozambique an Exception to Global Arms Spending
Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique (Maputo)

LONDON (June 8, 2005) — Despite the earnest chatter in western capitals about development and fighting poverty, the true priority for much of the world remains mass murder, as military spending has continued to spiral.

The money spent globally on ways of killing people is heading back towards the levels last seen during the closing stages of the Cold War between the United States and its allies, and the Soviet bloc. However, Mozambique is bucking this trend, with a military budget far smaller than many other southern African countries.

According to research published on Tuesday by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) in 2004 the world spent over a trillion US dollars (1,035,000,000 dollars, to be more exact) on military expenditure, which is in real terms only six per cent less than the peak spending in 1987-88.

This enormous amount represents 162 dollars for every person on earth, and makes up 2.6 percent of global GDP. Whilst military spending declined after the break-up of the Soviet Union, it began to rise again after 1998, accelerating to an annual increase of six percent since the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

Almost half of the world’s military expenditure is spent by just one country, the United States, largely under the guise of its “global war on terrorism”. SIPRI points out that the US increased spending comes on top of its regular military budget, in the form of supplementary appropriations to fund its military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

SIPRI calculates that “the supplementary appropriations for this purpose allocated to the Department of Defence for financial years 2003 -2005 amounted to approximately $238 billion and exceeded the combined military spending of Africa, Latin America, Asia (except Japan but including China) and the Middle East in 2004 (193 billion in current dollars), that is, of the entire developing world”.

In its annual report, SIPRI raises the question of whether these US military operations are sustainable, given the growing fiscal deficit and its future impact on economic growth. It points out that “a related concern is whether military expenditure will crowd out non-military government expenditure”.

SIPRI also warns that, whilst security is a prerequisite for sustainable development, there is a debate about whether aid should cover security-related issues. It suggests that the move towards funding security projects “could even result in cold war-style assistance with the strategic interests of donors dictating the direction of their aid policy”.

SIPRI points out in its report that whilst military spending has increased strongly in India, it has slowed in China. Chinese military spending is over a quarter of military expenditure in east Asia, but is lower in real terms than its average for 1995-2003.

Arms sales are big business and give huge profits to United States companies. Almost a quarter of all spending goes on arms sales, which excluding China comes to $236 billion. Thirty eight US companies and one Canadian company accounted for 63.2 percent of those sales, totalling $150 billion. Most of the rest of the sales went to 42 European (including Russian) companies.

Military expenditure in sub-Saharan Africa has increased by almost a third since 1995, from $5.5 billion to $7.1 billion at constant prices. In 2004 the increase was estimated to be 4.4 percent. Half of all of Africa’s military spending was from just three countries — Algeria, Morocco and South Africa.

Other figures from SIPRI’s database on military expenditure show that Mozambique is bucking the trend of large increases in military expenditure. Mozambique’s spending has remained at under 1.5 percent of GDP over the last decade.

The Mozambican military budget for 2005 (recurrent and capital expenditure) is 1,283 billion meticais (about 53.4 million US dollars at current exchange rates), which is around 1.2 per cent of GDP. Military spending is just three per cent of the total 2005 budget of 41,605 billion meticais.

It could be argued (and the Mozambican military certainly would argue) that the country’s military budget is too small to meet its security requirements. Whilst it has no external enemies, it has a coastline of 2,470 kilometres and inland borders stretching across 14,000 kilometres.

Mozambique does not have the naval ships nor the soldiers to effectively patrol those borders. Also, in times of national emergency (such as the catastrophic floods of February 2000), the armed forces, the FADM, lack the vehicles, aircraft and funds to mount a full-scale rescue operation.

But it can certainly also be argued that Mozambique no longer has the internal threat that has been the driving force for military expenditure in much of Africa.

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