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Cameroon - Military Spending

In 1966 military costs were about CFAF3.9 billion, more than 19 percent of the national budget for that year. By 1969 military costs had risen to CFAF5.4 billion, but the military share of the national budget had been reduced to less than 18 percent. This trend was also reflected in the 1972 budget year, when the armed forces received roughly CFAF6 billion, about 13 percent of the national budget. The overall projected military budget for 1973 was about CFAF6.5 billion, about 11 percent of the nation's total operating budget. Although these figures reflected an increase in military expenditures as compared with the budgets of preceding years, they also indicated that military costs were taking a decreasing share of the overall annual budgets.

By 2006 Cameroon was seeking to make significant financial investments in new equipment for the Armed Forces. Cameroon strongly preferred to obtain American military equipment. Cameroon would like to see an increase in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) as a sign of real U.S. support for Cameroon's future role as a regional peacekeeping contributor. Cameroon wanted to purchase new U.S. equipment with its national funds, and intended to do that through a major US bank. As to materiel acquisition priorities for the services, observers highlighted lightly armored vehicles as the most glaring need for potential peacekeeping operations. Other priorities include shallow draft patrol boats (Navy), new helicopters (Air Force), and Army engineering assets.

The 2010 budget allocated $3.42 billion (59.4 percent) to operating expenses, slightly higher than in 2009. As usual, most of this account will go to pay the salaries of public servants, including additional personnel to be hired over the next year in the army, police, and education and health ministries. It will also be used to adjust benefits of currently employed staff. In part because of the ministry's large payroll, education is the biggest sectoral line item, accounting for 16.3 percent of the total budget (8.1 percent for secondary education, 6.5 percent of for basic education and 1.7 percent for higher education). Defense makes up the next biggest expense, accounting for 9.7 percent of the total budget (6.8 percent for the Ministry of Defense and 2.9 percent to the police).

According to the World Bank, military expenditures data from SIPRI are derived from the NATO definition, which includes all current and capital expenditures on the armed forces, including peacekeeping forces; defense ministries and other government agencies engaged in defense projects; paramilitary forces, if these are judged to be trained and equipped for military operations; and military space activities. Such expenditures include military and civil personnel, including retirement pensions of military personnel and social services for personnel; operation and maintenance; procurement; military research and development; and military aid (in the military expenditures of the donor country).

Excluded are civil defense and current expenditures for previous military activities, such as for veterans' benefits, demobilization, conversion, and destruction of weapons. This definition cannot be applied for all countries, however, since that would require much more detailed information than is available about what is included in military budgets and off-budget military expenditure items. (For example, military budgets might or might not cover civil defense, reserves and auxiliary forces, police and paramilitary forces, dual-purpose forces such as military and civilian police, military grants in kind, pensions for military personnel, and social security contributions paid by one part of government to another.)

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