For decades, Algeria has held a military advantage over the neighboring kingdom of Morocco. Superior air forces along with a better-equipped army have largely contributed to the preservation of this military superiority over the years.
The advent of COVID-19 in addition to Algeria’s ongoing economic and social crises may be providing Morocco with a window to close this gap, however, and in doing so, position itself as the leading power in North Africa.
In 2017, Morocco established a five-year plan, backed by nearly $20 billion in funding, to achieve “regional supremacy” in North Africa through the modernization of equipment in all three branches of its military. Since then, Morocco has made good on its commitment to military expansion, including a recent move to purchase patrol boats from Spain in late 2019. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, these efforts have picked up dramatically.
The health crisis has had a notable impact on the defense industry. Disrupted supply chains, decreases in the demand for defense equipment, and stock price declines have led to dwindling prices throughout the sector.
While some countries have seen their military spending decrease as a result of this pandemic, driving these aforementioned trends in the defense industry, Morocco has taken advantage of this heavily burdened production.