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Understanding Egyptian Military Expenditure

Understanding Egyptian Military Expenditure
Publisher: SIPRI
SIPRI, Stockholm:
October, 2020

Egypt has one of the largest military forces and inventories of major weapons in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). However, based on the official figures provided by the govern­ment, Egypt’s military expenditure averaged a comparatively moderate, by regional stand­ards, US$3.8 billion annually over the past decade. Egypt thus appears to have one of the lowest levels of military spend­ing in MENA.

This background paper provides an in-depth explor­ation of the official military spending figures for Egypt. Through analysis of primary and secondary sources, it high­lights gaps and shortcomings in the data reported by the Egyptian Government. By mapping and examining a comprehensive list of Egypt’s arms procurement deals between 2000 and 2019, it also shows that the growing number of arms acquisitions apparently had no impact on the level of military spending officially reported by Egypt over the most recent decade.

The paper also identifies one additional spending category that could be included in an estimate of Egypt’s military expenditure: costs related to specific activities of Egypt’s paramilitary forces.

The issues regarding the lack of com­prehen­sive official data on mili­tary spending raised in the paper can be resolved only through promoting trans­parency in military budgeting in Egypt.


I. Introduction   

II. Definitions, methods and sources   

III. Egyptian military spending in economic and regional contexts   

IV. ‘Defence and national security’: Budget composition  

V. Outside Egypt’s military budget: Egypt’s spending on paramilitary forces   

VI. Spending on arms procurement   

VII. Beyond the budget: The Egyptian armed forces’ economic activities   

VIII. Conclusions   



Alexandra Kuimova Alexandra Kuimova is a Researcher with UNIDIR’s Conventional Arms and Ammunition Programme. She was previously a Researcher with the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme.