On April 27th, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) released its annual Global Military Expenditure Report.
The US accounts for 38% of global spending, with the other 4 countries in the top 5 – China, India, Russia and Saudi Arabia accounting for 24.3% combined. This is the first time that two Asian states have featured among the top three military spenders.
The five largest spenders in 2019, which accounted for 62% of expenditure.
Who were the five biggest military spenders in 2019?
5) Saudi Arabia🇸🇦
— SIPRI (@SIPRIorg) April 26, 2020
The global military expenditure in 2019 rose to $1,917 billion. The total is a 3.6% increase compared to 2018 and the largest annual growth in spending since 2010.
Military spending by the US grew by 5.3% to a total of $732 billion.
The increase in US spending in 2019 alone was equivalent to the entirety of Germany’s military expenditure for 2019.
“The recent growth in US military spending is largely based on a perceived return to competition between the great powers,” said Pieter D. Wezeman, Senior Researcher at SIPRI.
In 2019 Russia was the fourth-largest spender in the world and increased its military expenditure by 4.5% to $65.1 billion.
“At 3.9 per cent of its GDP, Russia’s military spending burden was among the highest in Europe in 2019,” said Alexandra Kuimova, Researcher at SIPRI.
In 2019 China and India were, respectively, the second- and third-largest military spenders in the world. China’s military expenditure reached $261 billion in 2019, a 5.1% increase compared with 2018, while India’s grew by 6.8% to $71.1 billion.
“India’s tensions and rivalry with both Pakistan and China are among the major drivers for its increased military spending,” Wezeman said.
Apart from these two, Japan and South Korea were the largest spenders in Asia and Oceania, respectively with $47.6 billion and $43.9 billion.
Military spending in the region has increased in the region for as long as tracking has been taking place since 1989.
Germany’s military spending rose by 10% in 2019, to $49.3 billion. This was the largest increase in spending among the top 15 military spenders in 2019.
“The growth in German military spending can partly be explained by the perception of an increased threat from Russia, shared by many North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member states,” said Diego Lopes da Silva, Researcher at SIPRI.
There were sharp increases in military expenditure among NATO member states in Central Europe: for example, Bulgaria’s increased by 127%—mainly due to payments for new combat aircraft—and Romania’s rose by 17%.
The volatile environment in Africa led to significant increases in most countries, but also decreases due to the inability of local forces to deal with Boko Haram and other militant groups.
In the Sahel and Lake Chad region, where there are several ongoing armed conflicts, military spending in 2019 increased in Burkina Faso (22%), Cameroon (1.4%) and Mali (3.6%) but fell in Chad (–5.1%), Niger (–20%) and Nigeria (–8.2%).
Among Central African countries that were involved in armed conflict, military spending in 2019 rose overall. The Central African Republic (8.7%), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (16%) and Uganda (52%) all increased military spending in 2019.
Military expenditure in South America was relatively unchanged in 2019, at $52.8 billion. Brazil accounted for 51% of total military expenditure in the subregion.
The average military spending burden was 1.4% of GDP for countries in the Americas, 1.6% for Africa, 1.7% for Asia and Oceania and for Europe and 4.5% for the Middle East.
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