Saturday, September 26, 2020

Botswana inflicting biggest military burden on citizens – findings

Botswana citizens carry the heaviest military burden in Africa second only to Algeria ÔÇô it has emerged.The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has created a Military Expenditure Database which tracks the military spending of countries for the period 1949ÔÇô2017. Using the data, Newsweek compiled a list of  countries with the highest military expenditure per capitaÔÇöthat is, which countries spent the most on the military per citizen, a figure which is known as the ‘military burden’ and Botswana comes second after Algeria in Africa.

Botswana’s total military expenditure in 2017 was $531 million about P5, 488 billion at the current exchange rate making up more than 30 percent of Botswana’s total development budget for the year.

Parliament voted P14, 82 for the 2016 development budget with the highest share of P 3, 59 billion going to the Ministry of Defence Justice and Security. The money was to also finance Botswana Police Service development projects.

The balance of about P2 billion is believed to have been financed through off budget spending. With the expenditure treated as an “off the books” expense, it is as if it is not happening and parliament never gets to know about it.

Botswana also made the top 50 military expenditure per capita in the world at position 42 while Algeria is at position 40. Seychelles was the only other African country that made the top 50 list behind Botswana and Algeria. Middle Eastern countries with smaller populations end up footing a large per-person military bill. Their location in a high-conflict region is partly why military expenditure in the Middle East rose by 6.2 percent in 2017. Seven of the 10 countries with the highest military burden are in the Middle East.

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