Global Military Spending Up

Global Military Spending Up
Global Military Spending Up

The US and China continue to be the top spenders, but Saudi Arabia pulled ahead of Russia in 2015. The research institute said falling oil prices and economic crises have created “contrasting trends” across the globe.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) on Tuesday published a report showing global military spending increased by 1% in 2015, marking the first increase since 2011, Deutsche Welle reported.

However, falling oil prices and economic hardships have led several countries to drastically cut their military expenditure.

“On the one hand, spending trends reflect the escalating conflict and tension in many parts of the world; on the other hand, they show a clear break from the oil-fueled surge in military spending of the past decade,” said Sam Perlo-Freedom, who heads SIPRI’s military spending project, in a statement.

“This volatile economic and political situation creates an uncertain picture for the years to come,” Perlo-Freedom added.

  End to Poverty

The Stockholm think tank estimated 10% of this could cover the costs of global goals aiming to end poverty and hunger in 15 years.

SIPRI said military expenditure amounted to 2.3% of global gross domestic product and 10% of this would be enough to fund the global goals agreed upon by United Nations’ 193 member states in September to end poverty and hunger by 2030.

“This gives some sort of perspective that can allow people to see what is the opportunity cost involved with global military spending,” Perlo-Freeman told Reuters.

“This could stir up some debate although we are certainly not expecting a 10% cut in military spending at all. That is all about the politics of these countries.”

UN figures show an estimated 800 million people live in extreme poverty and suffer from hunger, with fragile and conflict-torn states experiencing the highest poverty rates.

While the US and China remained at the top of the list with $596 billion (€529 billion) and $215 billion respectively, Saudi Arabia overtook Russia for third place, partially due to its engagement in the Yemen conflict and the depreciation of the Russian ruble.

Meanwhile, Europe witnessed a 1.7% increase with Eastern European nations significantly boosting funding in response to the eastern Ukraine conflict, according to the report.

Germany dropped one place to ninth in the list of global military spenders, swapping positions with Japan. The SIPRI report noted that Europe’s three top spenders, namely the UK, France and Germany, had all pledged increased military outgoings in the coming years.

SIPRI noted that “the most dramatic oil revenue-related reductions” concerning military spending took place in Venezuela, which dropped 64% compared to 2014.

Caracas’ substantial cutback brought South America’s expenditures down to 4% to $57.6 billion.

Angola was also impacted by the decline in oil prices, recording a 42% drop to its military expenditure. Bahrain, Ecuador, Oman and South Sudan also recorded decreases.

However, several oil-exporting countries, including Algeria, Russia and Saudi Arabia, nominally increased spending as a result of being “involved in conflict or faced with heightening regional tensions”.