In this part of the Global Annual Defense Spending Snapshot series, Forecast International analysts examine defense spending trends in regions representing 13% of the global defense landscape — Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East.


Accounting for only 2 percent of global defense expenditures, Africa is the world’s smallest defense spender on a regional basis. The region devoted $39.2 billion to defense in 2023, growth of almost 4 percent over the previous year’s level. This rate of expansion has been fairly steady in recent years, indicating that wars ongoing elsewhere in the world have not served as enough of a shock to upend longer-running trends.

Burkina Faso, Niger, and Mali increased spending due to deteriorating security, receiving backing from Russia as UN and Western forces exited.

Latin America

Despite a resilient economic recovery, Latin America’s defense spending constituted 2.8 percent of the global total, facing constraints due to enlarged national debt obligations, persistent challenges, and political transitions.

Brazil remains the largest defense spender in Latin America by a significant margin, consistently making up nearly half of all annual defense spending in the region. Colombia follows as the next
largest spender, typically constituting about 15 to 18 percent of the region’s defense outlays.
Rounding out the top five markets in Latin America are Mexico, Chile and Peru.

Middle East

Middle Eastern states spent $163 billion on defense in 2023, which accounted for 7.7 percent of global spending.  The region is one of the world’s pre-eminent military markets, home to three of the world’s largest 20 defense budgets. A strong focus on military matters stems from the region’s complex and varied security threats that include a renewed conflict between Hamas and Israel, increased Iran-backed militia activity and attacks, state rivalries, volatile local politics, and insurgencies.

Israel’s budget rose significantly amid conflicts, and the region’s defense budgets are expected to grow through 2028, reaching $193.4 billion collectively.

To further explore these insights and additional spending forecasts from Forecast International analysts, please download our Global Defense Spending Annual Snapshot series at