Egypt has one of the largest military forces and inventories of major weapons in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, (SIPRI) has said. It said so in a report titled “Understanding Egyptian Military Expenditure”
Authored by Alexandra Kuimova, a Research Assistant with the SIPRI’s Arms and Military Expenditure Programme, the report is, however, rating Egypt’s military expenditure as averaging a comparatively moderate one, by regional standards. By the comparatively moderate rating, they mean that Egypt’s US$3.8 billion annually over the past decade puts the country as appearing to have one of the lowest levels of military spending in MENA. It means all other countries in MENA spend higher. Egypt has been conducting a counter-insurgency operation as well as in the war in Libya.
It is not clear what explains the timing of the report but a synopsis on the background paper by SIPRI credits it with providing an in-depth exploration of the official military spending figures for Egypt, the analysis having been based on official figures provided by the government. “Through analysis of primary and secondary sources, it highlights gaps and shortcomings in the data reported by the Egyptian Government”, said the synopsis, drawing out how the mapping and examining of a comprehensive list of Egypt’s arms procurement deals between 2000 and 2019 shows that the growing number of arms acquisitions apparently had no impact on the level of military spending officially reported by Egypt over the most recent decade.
Arguing that the issues regarding the lack of comprehensive official data on military spending as raised in the paper could be resolved only through promoting transparency in military budgeting in Egypt, the paper also identifies costs related to specific activities of Egypt’s paramilitary forces as one additional spending category that could be included in an estimate of Egypt’s military expenditure.
The report is made up of the following compartments: Introduction; Definitions, methods and sources; Egyptian military spending in economic and regional contexts; ‘Defence and national security’: Budget composition and Outside Egypt’s military budget: Egypt’s spending on paramilitary forces
Others are Spending on arms procurement; Beyond the budget: The Egyptian armed forces’ economic activities and Conclusions.
Nigeria, South Africa and Egypt are, generally regarded as the continental powerhouses and Egypt’s military budget and acquisitions are bound to be issues of interest in the Presidential Villa and military headquarters of the two other power houses, amongst other defense and security related establishments, notwithstanding historical, national and regional variations involved in such comparisons.