Military Sales:

An Increasing U.S. Role in Africa

ID-77-61: Published: Apr 4, 1978. Publicly Released: Apr 4, 1978.

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Since 1974, there has been a trend toward increasing U.S. foreign military sales (FMS) to African nations which until recently have been lightly armed with unsophisticated weapons. Military sales to five African nations -- Morocco, Ethiopia, Zaire, Kenya, and Nigeria -- were reviewed. Morocco, Ethiopia, and Zaire have been the largest African purchasers of U.S. military equipment and services. Kenya has recently agreed to a large sale, but Nigeria, which has the largest military force in sub-Sahara Africa, currently procures few U.S. military items.

The United States views the FMS program as an important way to further its political and military interests, and FMS will continue to be an important tool of U.S. foreign policy. Presidential notifications of proposed foreign military sales have not given Congress complete information; descriptions on prior notifications have lacked specific data on the types of weapons, ammunition, and personal services included in sales. With the elimination of grant aid, credit has been an important element in facilitating certain U.S. sales in Africa, and the U.S. credit policy helps friendly nations to purchase military items. U.S. unilateral arms control initiatives in Africa are unlikely to halt the flow of arms to African nations. Moreover, refusal to sell arms could adversely affect U.S. interests and could counter foreign policy objectives by encouraging nations to seek more arms from the Soviets.

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