NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

World Spending Less On Weapons

June 21, 1999

Globally, arms expenditures continued to decline in 1998, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute -- an independent body funded by the Swedish parliament.

  • The world spend $745 billion on arms last year -- or about $125 for every person on Earth.
  • That is down about one-third from 10 years ago and 3.5 percent less than in the previous year.
  • The decline was sharpest in Eastern and Central Europe, and particularly in Russia -- but was offset somewhat by greater spending in Asia and the Middle East.
  • Since 1992, the average rate of decline in Russian arms spending has been roughly 30 percent per year, the institute said.

Africa and the Americas also reduced spending "significantly" -- with cuts of 25 percent and 30 percent respectively.

Algeria has one of the highest levels of expenditure in Africa -- allocating 15 percent of total expenditures to its defense budget.

China keeps its defense budget secret, but experts estimate it at about 1.9 percent of gross domestic product.

After a decade of trending lower, military spending in the U.S. was up slightly in 1998 -- accompanied by a slight increase in arms production. The U.S. spent half the world total, with Britain and France accounting for 10 percent each.

Source: Agence France-Press, "Global Arms Spending Continues to Decline," Washington Times, June 21, 1999.


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