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N. African states increase military spending for first time in decade

Special to World Tribune.com
MIDDLE EAST NEWSLINE
Monday, April 28, 2003

North African states have been increasing their military spending, a new report says.

The State Department's Bureau of Verification and Compliance reports that Libya, Morroco, and Tunisia have ended nearly a decade of decline in military spending. The department said military spending by the three North African countries rebounded by the end of the 1990s.

Algeria was said to have shown the biggest military increase in the latter half of the 1990s. Tunisia had the lowest rate of growth in military spending.

"In North Africa, three of the four countries Libya, Morroco, and Tunisia had spending declines in the early 90's, but recovered by a decade later to about the starting levels," the report, entitled "Military Expenditures and Arms Transfers 1999-2000," said. "Algeria, after a sharp initial drop, nearly doubled its initial level by the end of the decade."

The State Department report, the 28th in the series, traces global military spending. It contains statistical tables on military expenditures, arms transfers, armed forces, and economic comparison data for 172 countries from 1989-1999, as well as analytical highlights, regional trend charts, and world rankings of all countries by 17 indicators.

The report said that in the last half of the 1990s Algeria's military spending grew by more than 11 percent annually. Libyan military spending increased by the end of the 1990s by five percent a year.

Libyan military spending grew by six percent in 1999 after averaging 1.9 percent throughout the 1990s. Libyan military spending from 1995-999 rose at an annual rate of 8.4 percent.

Morocco also was said to have increased military spending, but at a much lower rate. Military spending in 1999 increased by 1.5 percent. This amid a budget decrease throughout the decade of 0.3 percent. Rabat's military spending from 1995 until 1999 grew by an annual rate of 3.6 percent.

The State Department report showed that Tunisia had the slowest rate of military spending. Tunisia's military spending increased by 0.3 percent in 1999. Throughout the 1990s, Tunisia's military expenditures dropped by 0.3 percent.

The report said the Middle East had the fifth largest share of world military spending in 1999. Saudi Arabia and Turkey were among the biggest spenders in the Middle East.

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