Botswana continues to be among Africa’s largest military spenders – a study has revealed.
According to the new Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) study titled “Trends in Military Expenditure, 2021,” States in sub-Saharan Africa accounted for 2.0 per cent of total global imports of major arms in 2017–21. Taken together, their arms imports were 35 per cent lower in 2017–21 than in 2012–16.
“In 2017–21 the five largest arms importers in the sub-region were Angola, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Mali and Botswana,” the report says.
The report says that in sub-Saharan Africa, recently imported arms played a role in the current armed conflicts in three of these states: Nigeria, Ethiopia and Mali. In 2017–21 these three states each had a diversified supplier base and received no more than 49 per cent of their major arms from a single supplier.
It says Nigeria received major arms from 13 suppliers in 2017–21. Deliveries included 272 armoured vehicles from China, 7 combat helicopters from Russia, 3 combat aircraft from Pakistan, 12 light combat aircraft from Brazil (via the USA) and 9 patrol craft from France.
Ethiopia received air-defence equipment from Russia and Ukraine during the first three years of the period 2017–21. While no transfers of major arms to war-torn Ethiopia from these two states have been identified for 2020–21, several deliveries by other suppliers are known to have taken place in that period, but the numbers of arms involved are highly uncertain.
These arms deliveries included multiple rocket launchers from China and unmanned aerial vehicles from Turkey and an unidentified supplier.
The largest arms supplier to Mali in 2017–21 was Russia, which delivered 4 armed transport helicopters and 4 combat helicopters.
In the Mali received 130 armoured vehicles from the UAE and 4 light combat aircraft from Brazil. South Africa also supplied 102 armoured vehicles, of which at least 70 were paid for by Germany as military aid.
The report says between 2012–16 and 2017–21 imports of major arms by African states decreased by 34 per cent. Russia was the largest supplier to Africa in 2017–21, accounting for 44 per cent of imports of major arms to the region, followed by the USA (17 per cent), China (10 per cent) and France (6.1 per cent).
It says the overall drop in African arms imports was mainly due to decreases in imports by Algeria and Morocco—the two largest arms importers in the region.
In 2017–21 Algeria accounted for 44 per cent of total African arms imports and for 2.6 per cent of the global total. Arms imports by Algeria decreased by 37 per cent between 2012–16 and 2017–21. Arms imports by Algeria’s regional rival Morocco fell by 27 per cent in the same period. Both states, however, have substantial pending deliveries of major arms.