NOT STICK­ING TO OUR GUNS

SA’s bucked a global trend in cut­ting its mil­i­tary spend­ing in 2017

Destiny Man - - NOTEBOOK -

SA’s mil­i­tary spend­ing dropped 1,9% in 2017 to about $3,6 bil­lion per an­num, while to­tal world mil­i­tary ex­pen­di­ture rose to $1,7 tril­lion in 2017, a mar­ginal in­crease of 1,1%, ac­cord­ing to new fig­ures from the Stock­holm In­ter­na­tional Peace Re­search In­sti­tute (SIPRI). This spelt an end to a five-year pe­riod of un­changed global spend­ing.

Mil­i­tary spend­ing in 2017 rep­re­sented 2,2% of global GDP, or $230 per per­son, the re­searchers found. The USA spent a mam­moth $610 bil­lion on its mil­i­tary in 2017 – more than the next seven high­est­spend­ing coun­tries com­bined and al­most three times as much as sec­ond-placed China.

“The in­creases in world mil­i­tary ex­pen­di­ture in re­cent years have been largely due to the sub­stan­tial growth in spend­ing by coun­tries in Asia and Ocea­nia and the Mid­dle East, such as China, In­dia and Saudi Ara­bia,” says Dr Nan Tian, re­searcher with the SIPRI Arms & Mil­i­tary Ex­pen­di­ture pro­gramme.

“At the global level, the weight of mil­i­tary spend­ing is clearly shift­ing away from the Euro-At­lantic re­gion.”

While mil­i­tary spend­ing in sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa rose in 2017, this was largely due to a 35% in­crease in the Su­danese bud­get, as the North African coun­try sought to sub­due rebel forces within its trou­bled bor­ders. An­gola and Nige­ria joined SA in de­creas­ing bud­gets. These are three of the four largest spenders in the sub-re­gion.

De­spite this cur­tailed spend­ing, SA’s armed forces re­main rel­a­tively pow­er­ful for a coun­try with few dis­cernible threats to its bor­ders, plac­ing 33rd in the world in 2018 Global Fire­power rank­ings and en­com­pass­ing just un­der 100 000 to­tal mil­i­tary per­son­nel and 14 mil­lion cit­i­zens fit for con­scrip­tion.

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