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Military expenditure in South Sudan declined, says report

May 6, 2018 (JUBA) - Military expenditure in the East African region declined last year with war-hit South Sudan reducing its spending by over 50%, a new report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), shows.

Founded in 1966, SIPRI is an independent international institute dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament.

In South Sudan, despite the ongoing civil war, the worsening economic conditions reportedly led to further reductions in the defence expenditure.

Its says South Sudan spent just $72 million on its military, down from its all-time high of $1.1 billion in 2014 at the peak of the violent conflict between the government and the country’s rebels.

Overall, according to a report released on Tuesday, military expenditure in South Sudan decreased to $59.50 million in 2017 from $135.30 million in 2016.

Military expenditure in South Sudan averaged $450.14 million from 2006 until 2017, reaching an all-time high of $697.70 million in 2011 and a record low of $59.50 million in 2017, the report said.

However, unlike war-torn South Sudan, Kenya remained the region’s top military spender, at $963.5 million in 2017 from $933.1 million spent in the previous year.

In March, the campaign group, Global Witness accused the leadership in South Sudan of using revenues from Nile Petroleum Corporation (Nilepet) to fund the war.

South Sudan got the lion’s share of the oil when it split from Sudan in July 2011, but it’s only export route is through Sudan, giving Khartoum leverage and leading to pricing disputes.

The Global Witness report claimed NilePet is under the direct control of President Salva Kiir and his cronies and is being used to funnel millions in oil revenues to the country’s security services and ethnic militias, with little oversight and accountability.

GLOBAL TRENDS

According to SIPRI’s report, African military spending was down by 0.5% to an estimated $42.6 billion in 2017 or 2.5% of global military spending. For instance, military expenditure in sub-Saharan Africa in 2017 amounted to $21.6 billion, up 0.9% from 2016, but 6.8% lower than in 2008.

Overall, total world military expenditure rose to $1 739 billion in 2017, a marginal increase of 1.1% in real terms from 2016, the report further indicates.

(ST)