The global military spending rose 2.6% in 2020 to 1.98 trillion (1.65 trillion euros), despite the crisis caused by the pandemic of coronavirus, according to a report released Monday by the International Institute of Stockholm Peace Studies (SIPRI).
The fall in world gross domestic product (GDP) due to the pandemic, which the International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimated at 4.4%, caused military spending to account for 2.4% of global GDP, two tenths more than in 2019.
“We can say with certainty that the pandemic did not have a significant impact on global military spending in 2020. It remains to be seen whether countries will maintain that level of spending during the second year,” SIPRI analyst Diego Lopes da Silva said in the report. .
However, the report highlights that countries such as Brazil or Russia spent “considerably less” than initially budgeted and others such as Chile and South Korea relocated part of what was allocated to military spending in response policies to the pandemic.
The US continues to increase its spending
The United States further consolidated its world leadership with a spending of 778,000 million dollars (647,000 million euros), 4.4% more, which allows it to increase its share of global military investment by one percentage point to 39%.
The increase in US spending, which exceeds that of the next nine countries combined, is due to “large investment” in research and development and long-term projects such as modernizing the nuclear arsenal and large-scale weapons purchases.
“This reflects growing concern over the perceived threat from strategic competitors such as China and Russia, as well as the push by the (former US President Donald) Trump administration to bolster what it viewed as a weakened military forces,” the study notes.
China , with an estimated spending of 252,000 million dollars (209,000 million euros), maintains the second place , with an annual increase of 1.9% and 76% in the last decade. China’s military investment has risen in the past 26 years, the longest series of uninterrupted increases recorded by a country in the SIPRI database.
“China stands out as the only major investor in not increasing the burden to GDP despite increasing its military spending, because its economy grew last year,” explains the report, which attributes the rise to its modernization program and expansion and the desire to get closer to other military powers.
In third place is India , with 72,900 million dollars (60,599 million euros) and an increase of 2.1%; followed by Russia , with 61,700 million (51,289 million euros) and 2.5% more, and the United Kingdom, with 59,200 million (49,211 million euros) and 2.9% more.
The joint spending of the top five accounted for 62% of world military investment in 2020, highlights the report, which places in the last five positions of the “top 10”, in this order, Saudi Arabia, Germany, France, Japan and South Korea.
More NATO countries reach 2%
SIPRI emphasizes that due to the economic recession, the burden of the military party in total spending increased in almost all NATO members, which allowed twelve countries to reach 2% of their GDP, following the recommendation of the Alliance. .
Germany increased its military investment by 5.2% annually to 52.8 billion dollars (43.891 million euros), and France, 2.9% to 52.7 billion (43.808 million euros).
Spain remains at number 17, as the fifth European country, with an investment of 17,400 million (14,464 million euros), 0.2% less, which represents 1.4% of its GDP, one percentage point more than the previous year, and 0.9% of total world spending.
Fall in South America
Expenditure on weapons in the American continent amounted to 853,000 million dollars (709,067 million euros), 3.9% more, with 94% concentrated in three countries: the United States, Canada and Brazil.
In South America, however, there was a 2.1% drop to 43,500 million dollars (36,160 million euros), driven by Brazil, leader in the region and in 15th place worldwide with 19,700 million (16,376 million euros). ), 3.1% less.
“The economic cost of the pandemic appears to have had an impact on Brazil’s investment in 2020: its final military spending amounted to only 88% of its initial budget,” the study notes.
Colombia, with 9,200 million dollars (7,648 million euros) and 0.3% less, fell one place to number 26 in the world.
In Central America and the Caribbean, spending remained at the same level, with Mexico as the regional leader (number 33 in the world) in the lead with 6,100 million dollars (5,071 million euros), 0.7% less, and with the fight against drug cartels as a promoter.