Study on security expenditures and their crowding-out effects on the financing of development spending in the G5 Sahel countries

Study on security expenditures and their crowding-out effects on the financing of development spending in the G5 Sahel countries
Sahelian countries face a significant security threat, forcing them to devote an increasing proportion of their budgets to security spending (military and police). Nevertheless, they remain low in the light of needs and they are expected to increase.


However, as the budgets of the Sahelian States are particularly constrained, the financing of this expenditure requires budgetary trade-offs between security expenditure and expenditure aimed at eradicating the economic and social causes of the crises that affect them, which may lead to an increase in their debt. Population growth, and the associated accelerated urbanization, as well as environmental degradation, are major challenges for States.

Created in 2014, the G5 Sahel (G5S) is a regional organization with five member States (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger) and a cumulative GDP of nearly US$53 billion (UNCTAD, 2018). To ensure its dual mandate (development and security) over a vast area (5 million square kilometers) with a population of nearly 80 million, the Conference of Heads of State created the Permanent Secretariat of the G5 Sahel, based in Nouakchott (Mauritania), in charge of the development component, and the military command, based in Mali, in charge of the military component.

G5 countries' total military expenditures reach $1.4 billion in 2018. This historically high level is explained in particular by the specific context of the Sahelian countries: low population density, large areas, high logistical costs, import of equipment, asymmetric nature of threats, etc.

However, to be effective, security efforts must not be to the detriment of spending on the poorest populations and development for all. In order to base future budgetary trade-offs on a sound diagnosis, it is necessary to have reliable statistics on Member States' public expenditure in the fields of security and development, to analyse how this trade-off has been carried out in recent years and to assess the minimum level of expenditure required for inclusive growth. This diagnosis should lead to operational recommendations for the implementation of public policies that meet the basic human development needs of Sahelians.

Also, at its fifth ordinary session held on 03 February 2019 in Ouagadougou, the Council of Ministers of the G5 Sahel instructed the Permanent Secretariat to "carry out, together with the Sahel Chair, a study on security expenditure and its crowding-out effects on the financing of investments, particularly in the social sectors in the G5 Sahel member countries".

The study therefore aims to:

  • Measure the share of defense and security expenditure and its evolution over the period 2010- 2018;
  • See the correlation between the evolution of these expenditures and those made for development, particularly in the social sectors, and to measure their effects.


  • Secrétariat permanent du G5 Sahel