Algiers will allocate some 23 billion dollars to the army by 2023 amid suspicions of corruption in the institution

Algeria increases military budget

PHOTO/FILE - Since 2004, Algeria's military budget has been around 10 billion dollars a year

Algeria has decided to double its military budget by 2023. Next year, the Algerian government will allocate some 23 billion dollars to the arms and defence sector. This major increase will be voted on by parliament at the end of November, although it will not be the subject of political debate, as is the case with all national defence issues.

As reported by Radio France Internationale (RFI), Algiers' decision represents an increase of more than 110% in a single year. Since 2004, Algeria's military budget has been around $10 billion per year. The only exception was in 2013, when the Ministry of Defence received 17 billion dollars from the general budget and the Ministry of Interior five billion. The French newspaper also points out that this sharp increase places Algeria among the top thirty countries in the world in terms of military spending, and one of the largest in Africa. 


With this measure, the Algerian army is seeking to modernise and invest in military intelligence. To this end, Algeria is considering the possibility of forging closer ties with countries such as China, Turkey and Iran in this area. The North African country could benefit from Beijing's arms efficiency and competitiveness, as well as acquire Turkish and Iranian drones, one of the weapons at the centre of the war in Ukraine. In this regard, President Abdelmadjid Tebboune recently held a telephone conversation with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in which both stressed the "excellent bilateral relations", according to the Algerian news agency APS.

In this way, Algeria would diversify its arms sources and cease to depend on Russia, its main supplier. The Eurasian giant is also the most sanctioned country in the world after its invasion of Ukraine last February. As such, these sanctions - some of which target Russia's military industry - could have an impact on the arms trade with Algeria.


On the other hand, distancing itself from Russia could calm critical voices in Washington calling for retaliation against the Maghreb country for its arms ties with the Kremlin. The conflict in Ukraine has also highlighted the limitations of Moscow's military arsenal against Western weapons destined for Kiev.

However, the war in Ukraine and subsequent sanctions against Russia have also benefited Algeria. Rising hydrocarbon prices, coupled with energy agreements between Algiers and certain European countries seeking to curb its heavy dependence on Russia, have boosted Algeria's state coffers. "Algeria has never been so rich. The crisis in Ukraine has allowed Algeria to fill its coffers," Emmanuel Dupuy, president of the Institute for Prosperity and Security in Europe (IPSE), told RFI.


On the other hand, this sharp increase in military spending could also be a 'cover' for corruption within the institution, reports Al-Arab, based on Algerian analysts who question why the government has decided to increase the defence budget when there are other sectors that urgently need these funds to alleviate the effects of the pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

According to the Arab newspaper, this change has been justified on the grounds of 'support and expansion of diplomatic activity', so it is possible that Algiers will invest more funds in military support for like-minded groups such as the Polisario Front.

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