Morocco’s 2024 finance bill has allocated MAD 124.7 billion, or $12.088 billion, to the defense industry.
Article 37 of the finance bill shows that the government is allocating the budget under the “acquisition and repair of materials for the Royal Armed Forces” and support for the defense industry development.
This means that Morocco is adding nearly MAD 5 billion ($484.7 million) to its defense budget, compared to last year, when the budget for the sector was estimated at MAD 119.76 billion ($11.6 billion).
Last year’s finance bill also saw an increase of MAD 4 billion ($387.7 million) compared to the previous season, when the budget for the sector was estimated at MAD 116 billion ($11.24 billion).
In recent years, Morocco has invested in modernizing its military sector and has become one of the world’s top 40 arms importers.
A recent report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) ranked Morocco as the 29th largest importer of major weapons last year.
The report identified the US as the top arms supplier to the North African country in 2022. France comes in second, while China is ranked third as the top arms exporters to Morocco.
These initiatives of modernizing Morocco’s armed forces included the purchase of advanced military technology, including state-of-art drones, fighter jets, and defense systems.
In September, the American magazine Forbes highlighted Morocco’s efforts to strengthen its defense through the acquisition of advanced weapon systems. In particular, Forbes underlined the acquisition of Israeli Barak MX systems.
Forbes emphasized that such acquisitions could play a central role in bolstering the country’s defense capabilities in the event of potential clashes or conflicts.
Despite such heavy investment by Morocco in boosting its military’s defense capabilities and firing power, Algeria remains the top arms importer in Africa.
In its latest report this past March, SIPRI ranked Algeria 18tn among the world’s 40 largest arms importers. Two years earlier, in 2020, the same institute had ranked Algeria as the world’s sixth largest arms importer.
Russia remains Algeria’s main arms supplier.
Algeria’s heavy investment in arms imports has raised concerns among the international community, including EU members and US lawmakers.
Last year, some 27 members of the US Congress called for sanctions against Algeria’s regime for its heavy purchase of Russian arms. The Algerian regime’s acquisition of Russian weapons amounted to $7 billion in 2021 alone, the US lawmakers recalled, stressing that maintaining such a level of trade could help support Russia’s war.
Source: Morocco World News