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26 April 2021updated 16 Sep 2021 9:35am

How global military spending rose in 2020

Military spending reached almost $2trn last year, the highest level since modern records began in 1988. 

By Michael Goodier

Global military spending rose by 2.5 per cent in 2020 to almost $2trn, despite the world being in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

 

The figures – published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute – show that $1.9trn was spent on the world’s militaries last year. That is the highest level recorded since 1988, when modern global figures began.

The figure is over 12 times larger than the amount spent on global foreign aid in 2020, which stood at $161.2bn according to the OECD. It represents 80 per cent of the amount the UN estimates would be needed to counter the pandemic’s effects in developing countries ($2.5trn).

The UK became the world’s fifth-biggest military spender, with spending rising by 2.9 per cent, even as the country’s international aid budget was slashed by a third.

This is the first in a new daily series.

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