Military expenditures in West Africa


The level of military expenditure in West Africa varies widely between countries. Nigeria is the fourth largest military spender  in Sub-Saharan Africa – after Sudan, South Africa and Angola – and is by far the biggest military power in West Africa. However, despite its continued military operations against Boko Haram, Nigeria’s military expenditures fell in 2017 for the fourth consecutive year. Chad and Côte d’Ivoire also made substantial cuts to their military spending. While Chad’s military spending has been shrinking over the years, this was the first annual decrease for Côte d’Ivoire. On the other hand, spending is up in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, which have some of the largest increases. These countries are gearing up their armed forces to respond to the Sahel’s critical security situation and to make the G5 Sahel Joint Force operational. Mali has had the sharpest increase. Since the beginning of the crisis in 2012, Mali has tripled its military spending. All of the G5 Sahel countries together spent USD 1.2 billion on military expenditures. This is slightly more than the annual cost of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) and only a quarter of Sudan’s military spending in 2017. In 2017, military expenditures in sub-Saharan Africa (USD 21.6 billion), barely represented 1.3% of global military expenditures (USD 1 681 billion). West Africa accounts for nearly 20% of sub-Saharan African spending. 


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