Gulf Arab States Defense Spending to Top $111 Billion By 2023

PKONWEB Report (New York) — Defense spending by the Gulf ‘s Arab states is expected to rise to more than $111 billion by 2023, driven by regional security dynamics and localized military initiatives by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, says a report by Jane’s.

Military expenditure in the Gulf will increase from $82.33 billion in 2013 to an estimated $103.01 billion in 2019, and is forecast to continue trending upward to $110.86 billion in 2023.

Falling energy revenues temporarily led to some major procurement projects being delayed as governments reigned in budget deficits, however, defense was generally protected from the worst of the spending cuts due to regional security concerns and budgets are now growing again, said Charles Forrester, senior defense industry analyst at Jane’s.

Saudi Arabia is also looking to “localize” 50 percent of total government military spending in the Kingdom by 2030 (as per Vision 2030), and in 2017 announced the launch of the state-owned military industrial company Saudi Arabia Military Industries, reported Arab News citing the report.

Such moves will boost the ability for Gulf countries to start exporting, rather than purely importing defense equipment, the paper cited Forrester as saying.

“Within the defense sector, the establishment of Saudi Arabia Military Industries (SAMI) in 2017 and consolidation of the UAE’s defense industrial base through the creation of Emirates Defense Industries Company (EDIC) in 2014 have helped consolidate and drive forward industrial defense capabilities,” he said.

“This has happened as the countries focus on improving the quality of the defense technological work packages they undertake through offset, as well as increasing their ability to begin exporting defense equipment.”

Meanwhile, it emerged on Friday that worldwide outlays on weapons and defense increased to more than $1.67 trillion in 2018, with Saudi Arabia surpassing Russia to take third place, and China taking second position–the US topped the list.

The US was responsible for almost half that increase, according to “The Military Balance” report released at the Munich Security Conference and quoted by Reuters.

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