UAE spends more on defence imports per head of population than any other country in the world
‘The Balance of Trade’, a global look at the volumes of arms and other defence equipment purchased by governments, published by IHS Jane’s Defence, says UAE defence spending more than doubled between 2008 and 2012 – rising from $1.6 billion to hit $3.53 billion last year.
With only the more populous nations of India and Saudi Arabia above the Emirates for defence purchases, that means the UAE spends more per head than any other nation on Earth.
Asked by 7DAYS if he was surprised to see the UAE so highly ranked, the firm’s senior forecasting manager Paul Burton said: “We fully expected the Gulf states to figure prominently in our ranking of importers, but yes, it was a little surprising to see it above the likes of Turkey and Australia.”
And the spending isn’t over, the firm believes. Jane’s IHS said it “expects the UAE to commit $54 billion to [all] defence funding between 2013 and 2017”.
Burton said UAE defence spending is being driven by “continued regional security threats and the Emirates’ strategy of accelerating economic development through defence investment”.
It’s not all about imports, though, as senior forecasting analyst Ben Moores said the country “had done very well” in creating demand for exports of military ships to other nations in the region.
But it is likely to be a decade or more before the Gulf countries can build their own sophisticated weapons and defence systems, he added.
Until then, the region is likely to continue to be a major market for the defence exports of developed countries, the consultant’s team have concluded.
And Moores told journalists on a conference call this week: “The Middle East is the biggest market for exports globally – and not only that it is the fastest-growing. It has grown from $10 billion to $20 billion since 2008. It is dramatic growth, and not only that but you are seeing that dramatic growth occurring in countries that already had high levels of imports – Turkey, the UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.”
The Jane’s IHS report finds that the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and India account for 23.3 per cent of all global imports – up from 13.9 per cent in 2008.
And Burton notes that with demand like that “it is little wonder that so many companies are focusing their attention on exporting to those markets”.
THE WORLD’s TOP DEFENCE IMPORTERS:
Country Spending in 2012
India $5.27 billion
Saudi Arabia $3.74 billion
UAE $3.53 billion
Turkey $3.30 billion
Egypt $2.42 billion
somebody is arming themselves..and who are you at war with UAE? or are you the conduit?