UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


Guinea - Military Spending

The consequences of the macroeconomic policy conducted between 2008 and 2010 (high inflation, insufficient allocation of resource to social sectors and to agriculture mostly because of the important weight of military spending…) have held back the reduction of poverty and inequalities. Moreover, bad management of state-owned enterprises (quite often in difficulty) fed unemployment and contributed to new impoverishment of a whole category of the population. Dismissal or loss of employment is a first stop on the road to poverty.

The domestic factors that bear mention include: political and institutional instability; poor economic governance characterized by unsound practices such as violation of the public procurement code, extracontractual exemptions, the proliferation of special accounts within ministerial departments, and above all the enormous pressure of military spending on the government budget, to the detriment of priority sectors. According to the IMF, military expenditures represented 10.2 percent and 11 percent of GDP in 2010 and 2011, respectively. As of military spending represented 10 percent of GDP and roughly 37 percent of the central government budget.

During the first few years of independence, expenditures for defense were relatively modest because of the outright grants of military aid and supplies by Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union. Because of the increases in size of the military establishment after 1964 and the arming and reorganizing of the militia, the Guinean contribution to the country’s defense outlay had to be increased. According to figures published by the United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, the defense budget voted by the Guinean National Assembly rose from an equivalent of US$4 million in 1961 to US$14.4 in 1965 and climbed steadily to US$18.6 in 1972, when it was equivalent to between 4 and 5 percent of Guinea’s gross national product (GNP).

Data on actual expenditures, which were said to differ from those authorized in the voted budgets, were not made public. The voted military budgets, which included the armed forces and the militia, were roughly the same size as those voted for the three police services; in 1971 the combined military and police budgets constituted about 11.5 percent of total current expenditures voted by the National Assembly. There was no information indicating whether the people regarded this as a heavy drain on the struggling economy.

In the 1970s all of Guinea’s security forces were completely dependent upon foreign sources of supply for weapons, ammunition, and most other equipment. Shortly after independence Czechoslovakia supplied Guinea with several thousand small arms, forging a fist link with the communist world. Since then, however, the vast majority of military, police, and militia equipment has been provided by the Soviet Union; the PRC, Cuba, and Czechoslovakia provided smaller amounts. Most advanced training in the use of complicated items of military hardware had been provided by military assistance personnel from the doror countries. In addition a large number of Guinean officers and technical personnel were sent to those countries for training. Soviet military aid between independence and 1970, for example, amounted to the equivalent of US$25 million.

The influence of Western nations on the Guinean security establishment, however, had been much less pronounced. The army as well as the police forces, nonetheless, retained some semblance of the French colonial heritage, such as organizational forms and rank structures. Some of the older personnel, who had served in French police units before 1958, were still on active duty in early 1975. Between 1963 and 1967, a period in which Soviet political influence in Guinea declined temporarily, the United States provided a limited amount of military equipment. During the same period, West Germany provided the equivalent of about US$7 million in equipment and training for three Guinean army engineer companies whose primary mission was the construction of transportation routes. Any friendly Guinean sentiments toward West Germany and France in these earlier periods, however, had been countered subse- quently by political propaganda campaigns of the PDG that accused those European countries of planning and encouraging efforts to overthrow President Toure’s government.

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.)

NATO defines defense expenditure as payments made by a national government specifically to meet the needs of its armed forces or those of Allies. A major component of defense expenditure is payments on Armed Forces financed within the Ministry of Defense (MoD) budget. Armed Forces include Land, Maritime and Air forces as well as Joint formations such as Administration and Command, Special Operations Forces, Medical Service, Logistic Command etc. In view of the differences between the NATO and national definitions, the figures shown may diverge considerably from those which are quoted by national authorities or given in national budgets.

They might also include "Other Forces" like Ministry of Interior troops, border guards, national police forces, customs, gendarmerie, carabinierie, coast guards etc. In such cases, expenditure should be included only in proportion to the forces that are trained in military tactics, are equipped as a military force, can operate under direct military authority in deployed operations, and can, realistically, be deployed outside national territory in support of a military force. Also, expenditure on Other Forces financed through the budgets of ministries other than MoD should be included in defense expenditure.

Pension payments made directly by the government to retired military and civilian employees of military departments should be included regardless of whether these payments are made from the budget of the MoD or other ministries. Expenditures for peacekeeping and humanitarian operations (paid by MoD or other ministries), the destruction of weapons, equipment and ammunition, and the costs associated with inspection and control of equipment destruction are included in defense expenditures.

Research and development (R&D) costs are to be included in defense expenditures. R&D costs should also include those for projects that do not successfully lead to production of equipment. Expenditure for the military component of mixed civilian-military activities is included, but only when this military component can be specifically accounted for or estimated. Financial assistance by one Allied country to another, specifically to support the defense effort of the recipient, should be included in the defense expenditure of the donor country and not in the defense expenditure of the receiving country. War damage payments and spending on civil defense are both excluded from the NATO definition of defense expenditure.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list

Page last modified: 03-05-2017 19:10:53 ZULU