Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

Despite the crisis, global military spending grew by 2.6% in 2020

Written by Eric Apim on Thursday, April 29th 2021 à 18:20 | Read 480 times

WORLD. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), global military spending reached $1981 billion (€1634 billion) in 2020 compared to 2019, an increase of 2.6% and the highest level since 1988. They "include all government spending on armed forces and military activities, including salaries and benefits, operating costs, military equipment and weapons procurement, military infrastructure, research and development, headquarters, command and support," SIPRI says.

The United States ($778 billion), China ($252 billion), India, Russia and the United Kingdom together account for 62% of this expenditure. The Washington administration is growing for the third year in a row (4.4% in 2020) after seven years of continuous decline and accounts for 39% of global spending in this area. As for China, it is showing an increase (1.9%) for the twenty-sixth consecutive year. 

In Europe, military spending rose by 4.0% and in sub-Saharan Africa by 3.4%.

2.1% of France's GDP devoted to military expenditure

The health crisis has not limited inflation in military spending (graph: SIPRI)
The health crisis has not limited inflation in military spending (graph: SIPRI)
In 2020, due to the impacts of the health crisis, the world's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has fallen by 4.4% according to the forecasts of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), as highlighted by SIPRI. Over this year, global military spending has weighed 2.4% of GDP compared to 2.2% in 2019. "This is the largest annual increase in such spending since the global economic and financial crisis of 2009," says the Institute. "We can say with near certainty that the pandemic has not had a significant impact on global military spending in 2020 (...) It remains to be seen whether countries will maintain this level of military spending during the second year of the pandemic," questions Diego Lopes da Silva, a researcher with SIPRI's Weapons and Military Expenditures program.

In 2020, of the twenty-three Mediterranean countries (see table below), twenty-one spent more on the military sector than in 2018, the pre-Covid-19 year. The exceptions are Greece and Cyprus.
These sums are eating up more and more points of GDP, especially in five states: Algeria (6.7%), Israel (5.6%), Jordan (5%) and Morocco (4.3%). The most thrifty in the Mediterranean basin is Malta, which devotes only 0.6% of its GDP to these expenses and only a sum of $ 78.5 million (Kosovo is at the bottom of the list with $ 77 million but 1.1% of its GDP).

Like almost all of the 30 members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), France, the sixth country in the world in this 2020 SIPRI ranking, has for the first time since 2009 passed the 2% mark of GDP (the target set by the Alliance) devoted to military spending. Paris reaches 2.1%. Twelve NATO states also exceed this percentage, compared to only nine in 2019.

Eight of the nine members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), for which SIPRI has data, reduced their military spending in 2020. In the Middle East (eleven states surveyed), they will decrease by 6.5% to $143bn. 
In Israel, they will increase by 0.4%.


Ranking of military expenditure in the Mediterranean countries

in constant
Percentage of military expenditure in relation to GDP
COUNTRY 2018 2019 2020 2020
France 49304 50119 51572 2,1%
Italy 27122 26381 28370 1,6%
Israel 20074 20504 21704 5,6%
Turkey 19225 20603 19567 2,8%
Spain 17024 17189 17160 1,4%
Algeria 9551 10304 9958 6,7%
Greece 5475 5472 5237 2,8%
Morocco 3641 3721 4794 4,3%
Portugal 4090 4278 4557 2,1%
Egypt* 3762 3744 4016 1,2%
Jordan 1973 2032 2083 5,0%
Serbia ** 795 1144 1086 2,1%
Tunisia 814 1001 1046 2,9%
Lebanon** 2861 2521 1036 3%
Croatia 923 1002 1031 1,8%
Slovenia 510 573 562 1,1%
Cyprus 428 402 414 1,8%
Albania 175 197 216 1,5%
Bosnia and
164 165 166 0,9%
Republic of Northern Macedonia
114 146 154 1,3%
Montenegro 75,1 77,7 100,3 2,1%
Malta 64,5 83,6 78,5 0,6%
Kosovo 61,7 65,7 77 1,1%

* Data uncertain
** SIPRI estimates
Table copyright econostrum. info - Sources: SIPRI 2021

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