Morocco's former ambassador to the United Nations and researcher at the Policy Center for the New South gave an interview to a Moroccan media outlet to analyse Algeria's new defence budget

Argelia podría llevar a cabo operaciones militares en Mali próximamente, asegura diplomático

A potential "export" of its armed forces, possibly to Mali. This is the main and most plausible explanation behind the 130 per cent increase in Algeria's defence budget for Mohamed Loulichki. 

Loulichki represented Morocco at the United Nations until 2014, now a senior fellow at the Policy Center for the New South, a think tank with one of its headquarters in Rabat. In the past he was ambassador to Hungary, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia. This weekend he gave an interview to a Moroccan pro-government media outlet to try to explain what is behind the huge increase in defence spending that the Algerian government wants to approve for the 2023 budget. 


With this programme, Algeria would go from its historic $10 billion to $23 billion. An increase that doubles the current amount. Compared to Algeria, Morocco will increase its military spending by just over 4.5 per cent. According to Loulichki, the increase is due to an attempt by Algiers to increase its weight in geopolitics and African diplomacy. With this increase, Algeria's armed forces would be able to deploy in force in neighbouring Mali, where France and progressively more European countries have ended their counter-insurgency military missions after rising tensions with the coup plotters in 2021. 

"Today, Algeria has this ambition to expose itself diplomatically. Hence the role it is trying to play in Mali, albeit frustrated by the results. Hence its attempt to mediate between Egypt and Ethiopia. What is certain is that the Algerian government wants to return to the international stage," said Loulichki, who also believes that nostalgia for the 1970s and the strong power that the military leadership wields over the government may have driven the increase in spending, which is supported by Algeria's revenues from rising gas and hydrocarbon prices. "The latter (Algerian elites) are driven by the boom in the price of hydrocarbons, of which Algeria is an exporter," the Moroccan analyst said during his interview. 


As for the diversification of Algerian military supplies, mostly from Russia, Loulichki said that Algerian uniformed procurement officers will have a very difficult task: "Once you become a regular customer of a military supplier, you are very conditioned," the analyst and diplomat explained. Technology implies compatibility in its effective use for the armed forces and this concept could condemn Algeria to remain Russia's best customer in the region. However, there is room for expansion, as seen in recent months, with Algeria becoming the first international buyer for Turkish TAI's Aksungur, as well as a Chinese-made drone and anti-aircraft missile programme. In terms of modernisation, Algeria has also traditionally relied on France to upgrade many of its ageing weapons systems.