Egypt Defence & Security Report Q2 2014
BMI believes that defence spending will increase in Egypt during 2014, with the country's annual defence budget being worth around US$4.7bn this year, an increase of almost 12% from the previous year. The upward trend of defence spending in Egypt is expected to continue with Egypt expected to spend up to US $8.2bn on defence annually by 2018.
Egypt's year-on-year increases to its defence spending are being driven by its urgent needs of military modernisation. In recent years, Egypt has worked to move away from Russia towards the United States as its main supplier of equipment. Following the ousting of the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt by a popular-backed military coup in 2013, Washington took the decision to suspend some exports of military equipment to Egypt. This has had the corresponding effect of Cairo once again approaching Russia as a potential source of materiel.
In January 2014, the country voted to approve a new constitution drafted by a 50-member assembly of key individuals, although the many supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood boycotted the poll, and reports spoke of those campaigning for a 'no' vote being arrested. Among the provisions of the constitution are measures to enable the military to approve the appointment of the country's defence minister, and to continue to allow civilians to be tried by military courts. Speculation is now strong that General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, who deposed the Muslim Brotherhood-led government may run for election as the country's president later in the year, prompting a potential return to Egypt's post-Second World War tradition of military rule, assuming he is victorious. Meanwhile, reports of brutality, torture and false imprisonment by the Egyptian law enforcement authorities have continued into 2014.