(Business in Cameroon) - According to the latest report of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Cameroon is the 6th largest importer of heavy weapons in Africa, for the period covering 2012 to 2016 (Egypt and South Africa were not taken into consideration in this ranking, Ed). Even though the 2016 data has not been revealed, SIPRI, in a separate report, maintains that Cameroonian military expenditure in 2015 reached FCfa 209 billion, against FCfa 199 billion in 2014 and FCfa 194 billion in 2013.
This growth in arms expenditure over the past years can be explained by the war that the national army has been waging since 2014 against the Nigerian Islamic Sect Boko Haram, whose atrocities in the Far North of Cameroon have already claimed more than 1,500 victims, according to the official toll.
SIPRI statistics however underlines that Cameroonian military expenditure has been continuously increasing since the year 1988. From FCfa 45.5 billion in that year, it exceeded the bar of FCfa 100 billion in 2003 for the first time. Estimated at FCfa 155 billion in 2008, these arms expenditures finally for the first time topped FCfa 200 billion in 2015.
In spite of this sustained increase, Cameroon remains a minor player regarding heavy weapons imports behind Algeria, which leads the largest African importers over the period 2012-2016, according to SIPRI. The biggest North African country, which holds the 5th spot among the world's largest weapons importers, cornered 46% of the continent's total imports. Next comes Morocco (15%), Nigeria (4.6%), Sudan, Ethiopia, Cameroon and Tanzania.
Brice R. Mbodiam