Top 10 African Powers Ranked By Military Strength

For centuries, the African continent has been beset with fighting, political upheaval and oppression. A 2019 report by Global Fire Power has ranked 34 countries in Africa according to their military power. The report focused on each nation’s potential war-making capability across land, sea and air, fought with conventional weapons.

This report will focus on the top ten strongest military powers in Africa.

10. Libya

The strength of Libya’s military comes mainly from its large cache of equipment, despite a relatively small number of active troops. Further hampering Libya’s abilities are the continuing violence and unrest, stemming from the revolution which began in 2011. A stable government has yet to emerge from it. Regardless, the country still has available 2,500 armored fighting vehicles, 500 tanks, 600 towed artillery pieces, 6,500 logistical vehicles, and much more. The country strongman seems to be General Haftar, who has managed to bring some calm to Libya following the NATO bombardment.

9. Kenya

Kenya has established itself as a vital participant in international peacekeeping missions, and is able to do so due to its merchant marine strength and an enormous labor force – resulting in high available manpower. Though it doesn’t possess as much of its own equipment, its role as a member of international teams allows the Kenyan military to share resources with other countries, strengthening its own capabilities at the same time. On top of that, Kenya has established itself as one of the strongest democracies on the continent. The future is bright for Kenya’s armed forces, with a strong sense of leadership from it’s political leaders. The army was able to reduce significantly Al-Shabab impact in Somalia, but has sometimes failed to prevent terrorist attacks on its own soil.

8. Tunisia

The Tunisian Armed Forces is composed of three mechanized brigades, one Saharan territorial group, one Special Forces group, and one military police regiment. They have contributed to peace keeping missions, including during the Rwandan genocide, and were forced into border clashes with Libyan rebels in 2011, during their civil war. They hold 900 armored fighting vehicles, 350 tanks, manpower of over five million, 139 pieces of aircraft and a total naval strength of 50. Tunisian in recent years has managed to have a stable government, and reduced the Isis threat on its Eastern Border. Its armed forces are relatively small but efficient.

7. Morocco

Highly dependent on foreign equipment, the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces have been involved in the conflict with the POLISARO, a liberation movement fighting for the independence of Western Sahara. They are involved in numerous peace keeping missions, including in Somalia. The military has at its disposal 2,120 armored fighting vehicles, 1,348 tanks, 323 total aircraft pieces, and a total naval strength of 121.

6. Angola

The Angolan Armed Forces (FAA), headed by Chief of Staff Geraldo Nunda, succeeded the Armed Forces for the Liberation of Angola in 1991. It has three components: the army, the navy, and the air force. Its involvement in training the armies of Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau was controversial, especially as the leaders of the 2012 Guinea-Bissau coup d’etat cited Angola’s military mission as a primary reason for an uprising. The FAA owns 920 armored fighting vehicles, 140 tanks, 270 pieces of aircraft, and has a navy of 56 craft. Angolan Forces have been involved in fighting in the Angolan Province of Cabinda. Angola as an oil rich country permits it to have one of the strongest army in the continent.

5. Ethiopia

As a landlocked country, Ethiopia has focused its resources on developing its army and air force to an impressive degree, (the GFP doesn’t penalize landlocked countries for not having a naval force). Several hundred thousand personnel make up it’s current force, and it has significant numbers of land and air systems at it’s disposal. An enormous population allows Ethiopia to maintain a large fighting force, and gives the country one of the greatest militaries on the continent. The Army has however difficulties in containing popular uprisings throughout the country that turned into local militias.

4. Nigeria

Due to its size, it’s no surprise that several hundred thousand troops comprise the Nigerian Armed Forces — Army, Navy, and Air Force. Like Algeria, an abundant domestic oil supply eases the financial burden of involvement in military conflict. Nigeria has more than 1,400 armored vehicles, 360 tanks, and 6,000 logistical vehicles at its disposal, as well as nearly 300 aircraft and 25 high-powered naval vessels. However this strong army has proven incapable of defending it’s citizens in Northern Nigeria, against Boko Haram. Army seems prepared against conventional warfare but less for asymetrical warfare against insurgents.

3. South Africa

As it hasn’t been embroiled in an international military conflict for some time, South Africa uses its highly advanced military for peace keeping and international cooperation. Its aircraft and naval vessels are notoriously well equipped with the latest technology, and though the country has less than 100,000 active front line personnel, it has the capabilities and manpower for much more. Add to that a vast array of land system technology, and the South African military is a force to be reckoned with.

2. Algeria

As Algeria has alarge maritime border, it has developed all its military capabilities to an impressively modern degree, including its land, sea, and air forces. Algeria’s active frontline personnel number more than 127,000 troops and it has nearly 2,000 armored fighting vehicles at its disposal. Algeria has also the added benefit of its own oil reserves, allowing it to use its own fuel to power tanks, aircraft carriers, naval vessels, and more. The army in Algeria is the only entity able to oppose effectively Islamic Forces (that almost took over the country after the independence).

1. Egypt

Egypt puts itself over the top with regard to military strength, due to the sheer size of it’s armed forces. Nearly 500,000 personnel serve on its active frontline force, far surpassing all its African counterparts. It has nearly 10,000 armored fighting vehicles, 60,000 logistical vehicles, 900 aircraft, and large oil reserves from which to draw. With Sissi in Power, the army is generally in charge of the country. Egyptians forces are involved in the Libyan Civil War with tacit support for General Haftar. Most importantly, Egyptians forces are engaged in a total war in the Sinai Region against Daesh Elements. Egyptians Army seems inefficient when it comes to dismantling ISIS and Hamas cells in the Sinai Region. The army has suffered some heavy losses between 2016 – 2018 in the Sinai region.

The strongest military in the world is the United States Army, which has been in the lead since 1945, it is followed by Russia, China, India, and the United Kingdom.  

ByGideon Sarpong | WakeUpAfrica360

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