(MENAFN- Morocco World News) Rabat – is one of the main buyers of American weapons in the region. In 2016, the kingdom spent USD 244 million in acquiring armements manufactured in the U.S.
The U.S. monopolized 96 percent of the value of Morocco purchased in 2016, said Al Massae daily, in its Tuesday, December 19 edition. These purchases were much higher in in 2015, when they amounted to USD 274 million.
Morocco, representing one of the main customers of U.S. weaponry, devotes 3 percent of its GDP to the military expenses.
With more than 373,000 total military personnel, counting 198,000 active personnel and 175,000 reserve personnel, the Moroccan army is one of the strongest troops in the world, according to the .
As the global defense budget of the kingdom stands at USD 3.4 trillion, Morocco's global sales of arms and military services have increased significantly in 2016 after five successive years of recession.
With EUR 127 million spent on military equipment, Morocco is leading the , spending EUR 19 million more than Algeria and EUR 104 million more than Tunisia. In Africa, most of the in 2016 were destined for Egypt, amounting to EUR 1.3 billion, revealed a previous report by the French military of defense.
Since 2012, deliveries to Morocco have reached EUR 655.2 million against 212 million for Algeria. The two countries are, along with Egypt, the main purchasers of French armaments on the continent. The report also notes that Morocco was the 10th largest buyer of in the world from 2007 to 2016.
Exploring Other Avenues Nevertheless, the United States and France are not the only ones to monopolize the Moroccan market, the Kingdom is eying the Chinese and the Russian markets and considers launching a consortiums for local weapons manufacturing.
A report by Strategic Defense Intelligence (SDI) has revealed that Morocco is currently holding talks with Spain, France, and the US, as well as companies in Belgium and the UK, to launch local joint ventures for weapons manufacturing. The attempt seeks to reduce Morocco's complete dependency on foreign suppliers.
SDI, which delivers proprietary content for the global defense sector, acknowledged that, while Morocco's military industry is not in a position to export weapons and military equipment, 'this is likely to change soon with the government's attempts to develop and expand the field of domestic arms manufacturing.'
The SDI report explained that Morocco's desire to develop its military arsenal has evolved from its aspiration to become a military power in the continent, bolstered by its its macroeconomic stability, low level of inflation, and huge reserves of hard currency.
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