October 23, 2018

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See the African country spending the most on weapons (OZY)

See the African country spending the most on weapons (OZY)

During an age of increasing autocracy around the world, Algeria’s ruling regime doesn’t inspire much confidence. In power since 1999, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has sailed into multiple terms thanks to constitutional changes critics say were aimed at keeping him head of state for life. Although presidential term limits were recently reintroduced, the 81-year-old rarely makes public appearances since suffering a stroke in 2013, and he has defied calls from opposition forces to step down over his health. Today, watchdog Freedom House classifies Algeria as “not free.”

Yet for all Bouteflika’s dubious, nondemocratic tendencies, experts say his country stands out another way in northern Africa. That’s because the Algerian military has singlehandedly kept an Islamist insurgency at bay — no mean feat in the Maghreb, a region long plagued by turmoil and terrorism. Having the right tools has certainly helped:

With an annual defence budget of around $10 billion — more than double that of the runner-up, Sudan, which spends $4.4 billion — Algeria was responsible for importing 51 percent of Africa’s arms over the past five years, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Read more

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