NOT STICKING TO OUR GUNS
SA’s bucked a global trend in cutting its military spending in 2017
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.