Egypt imported US$5.3 billion worth of arms in 2015, more than any other developing country, according to a report released this month by Congressional Research Service, a public policy research arm of the United States Congress.
Egypt also came second among developing countries in 2015 arms transfer agreements — agreements that were signed but not necessarily delivered — signing agreements worth $11.9 billion. Qatar ranked first, with agreements worth $17.5 billion.
According to the report, which traces arms sales to developing nations between 2008 and 2015, Egypt signed arms transfers agreements totaling $30 billion, coming third after Saudi Arabia and India.
Egypt ranked sixth among developing countries in total arms transfers agreements between 2008 and 2011, worth $8.6 billion. The US was the biggest arms exporter to Egypt in this period, with 79 percent of total arms transfer agreements, followed by China then Russia.
In the same period, Egypt’s actual arms imports reached $5 billion, the fifth largest among developing countries. Between 2012 and 2015, Egypt ranked fourth in arms imports at a total of $9.8 billion, preceded by Saudi, India and Iraq. The report indicates that Egypt’s arms transfer agreements for this period reached $21.5 billion.
Western European countries and Russia were major arms exporters to Egypt in this period, with 43 percent of agreements respectively, then came the US with 6 percent.
The report revealed that US and Russia were major arms exporters to developing countries in the period between 2012 and 2015, with 81 percent of the total arms transfer agreements.
In 2015 only, Qatar topped the developing nations signing arms transfer agreements with $17.5 billion, followed by Egypt with $11.9 billion, Saudi with $8.6 billion, then South Korea with $5.4 billion.
Arms transfer agreements signed by Egypt in 2015 represented 15 percent of total agreements signed worldwide, which reached $80 billion, according to the report.
But the database of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has shown that Egypt’s arms imports between 2011 and 2015 reached just $3.4 billion, ranking 12th worldwide.
A report published by London-based global analysis firm IHS Markit. indicated that Egypt’s military imports reached $2.268 billion in 2015, making it the world’s fourth-largest defense importer.
Egypt receives $1.3 billion in annual military aid from the US, and under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi it has also made major purchases from other exporting countries, including Russia and France. High-profile deals include a 2015 agreement with France to purchase 5.2 billion euro worth of military equipment, including 24 Rafale fighter jets and a naval frigate, and a contract with Russian firm Rosoboronexport to buy 46 attack helicopters.