LAKE ZONE: Uganda, Burundi lead East Africa in military spending

A Ugandan officer serving with the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) ranges a scope on a heavy machine-gun. Tanzania is lagging behind its East African partners in military spending, a new report shows. The country spent just $380 million since 2011. PHOTO | FILE

By The Citizen CorrespondentTanzania is lagging behind its East African partners in military spending, a new report shows. The country spent just $380 million since 2011.

Uganda and Burundi led the rest of East Africa in military spending last year allocating 2.2 and 2.3 per cent of GDP respectively to defence with Kenya increasing her expenditure to the highest level ever in nominal terms.

The two countries stayed ahead of Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda which spent 1.9, 1.2 and 1.1 per cent of their GDP respectively.

Uganda’s defence spending has stayed over 2 per cent of GDP rising to 4 per cent in the last two decades, even as the rest of the region made deliberate efforts to cut their spend in the same period.

Data released on Monday by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute shows that Kenya increased her defence budget by Sh3 billion last year to Sh74.1 billion, the highest in the region on nominal terms.

SIPRI is an independent international institute dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament funded by the Swedish government.

Kenya is faced with problems of terrorism, attacks from Oromo militias in Ethiopia and piracy in the Indian Ocean that have exposed the country’s military inadequacies.

“Due to the military “achievement” of KDF against Al-Shabaab militants in Somalia, Kenya would most likely want to obtain a greater influence on the political and administrative future of the region,” said Sipri.

Adjusted for inflation since 2011 SIPRI said Kenya spent $861 million compared to Uganda’s $465 million with Tanzania spending just $380 million.

Kenya’s military spending had been ranging between Sh20 and Sh30 billion in the early 2000s but had started rising to Sh40 billion after the country started modernising its military hardware that culminated into the Anglo Leasing scandal.

Africa is the only continent whose military budget stayed on a growth path as Europe, Asia and Americas cut their defence budget in austerity measures.

Source: The citizen

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