Morocco: 50% Increase in Military Expenditures in Last 10 Years


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Rabat – A new report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) estimated Morocco’s military spending at $4.8 billion, representing a 29% (as a share of GDP) increase compared to 2019.

The number is 54% higher than in 2011, data from the report shows.

SIPRI’s April report cited “several” factors behind the increase in military expenditures in Morocco, including a “large arms procurement program” launched in 2017.

Some of the reasons also include the “ongoing conflict” between Morocco and Polisario as well as “tensions” with Algeria.

The report ranks Morocco among countries whose expenditures on arms recently increased.

Meanwhile, the data reveals Algeria’s military spending is high at $9.7 billion, but the number represents a 3.4% decrease compared to 2019.

The decrease did not prevent the country from remaining the largest spender on the military in North Africa and on the whole continent.

Algeria continued to upgrade its military despite the socio-economic crisis that resulted in a surge in unemployment and poverty.

Depending on oil, Algeria witnessed drastic impacts due to the decrease in price.

“The fall in oil prices starting in 2014 and the subsequent decline in Algeria’s oil revenues had a substantial impact on its military spending by the end of 2016.”

The report said Algeria’s military budget witnessed a subsequent decline between 2017-2020. The report said that the spending fell by 5.3% overall.

“The large fall in Algeria’s GDP related to the Covid-19 pandemic contributed to an increase in its military burden to 6.7 per cent of GDP in 2020, which was the highest burden in Africa and the third highest in the world,” SIPRI said.

SIPRI’s new data followed a report the company released in March, featuring Morocco among the top 40 largest importers of major arms, ranking 29th out of 40.

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Data shows Morocco is among the largest customers of US arms.

The US is the main arms supplier for Morocco at 90%, followed by France (9.2%), and the UK (0.3%).

The report shows Algeria as the sixth largest importer of arms. Algiers imports most of its arms from Russia (69%), followed by Germany (12%), and China (9.9%).

The Global Firepower Index ranked Morocco’s military strength 53rd out of 137 in January. It is also ranked fifth in Africa.