Military expenditure in the Middle East and North Africa region hit $91 billion in 2010 with Saudi Arabia accounting for half, at $45.2bn.
Mena military spending at $91bn
Military expenditure in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region hit US$91 billion (Dh334.26bn) in 2010 with Saudi Arabia accounting for half, at $45.2bn.
The UAE spent $16.1bn or 17 per cent, while Kuwait spent $4.6bn or 5 per cent, according to Al Masah Capital Management in Dubai.
"We expect Mena military expenditure to reach $118.2bn by 2015, or 4.75 per cent of regional GDP," Al Masah said in its report Mena Military: The Hidden Industry, published in April.
"Rising concerns over energy infrastructure assets, military modernisation programmes, regional rivalry, mounting oil wealth driven by high oil prices, and aspirations for stronger regional and international presence are the primary drivers behind this type of spending," it said.
The report said the region has been spending a significantly higher percentage of its GDP on its military than has the rest of the world, averaging 5.5 per cent of GDP between 2001 and 2010, compared with the world average of only 2.5 per cent.
Between 2005 and 2010, the UAE was among the most active buyers of arms in the international market, accounting for 35 per cent of all purchases of major conventional weapons in the region, followed by Algeria at 21 per cent, Egypt at 16 per cent and Saudi Arabia at 13 per cent.
During that period, the United States supplied 44 per cent of all conventional weapons, while France and the United Kingdom supplied 14 per cent and 6 per cent, respectively.
"The US's dominance is mainly a result of its strong ties with the two largest buyers - Saudi Arabia and the UAE," concluded Al Masah.
* David Black
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