Top 14 Countries With The Strongest Military in Africa: Every country around the globe began growing its artillery and soldiers shortly after the Second World War ended, to become the best, most formidable, and strongest military force in Africa.
What countries on the African continent have the strongest military force in terms of weaponry? If the United States and Russia are the world’s strongest military forces based on their armory, manpower, and strategies, what countries in Africa have the best military force in terms of weaponry? What country in Africa has the strongest military force. WMDs, armories, tanks, fighter jets, nuclear weapons, and sophisticated ammunition, to name a few. This article expands on Africa’s strongest military force.
Top 14 countries with the strongest military in Africa 2024
1. Egypt: Because of the sheer quantity of its armed forces, Egypt exaggerates its military power. In worldwide rankings, the North African power is ranked 12th. The Egyptian Army, Egyptian Navy, Egyptian Air Force, and Egyptian Air Defense Command are all part of the Egyptian Armed Forces. Its active frontline military has about 500,000 soldiers, vastly outnumbering all of its African peers.
It has over 10,000 armored fighting vehicles, 60,000 logistics vehicles, 1,092 fighter planes, and massive oil reserves. It is distinguished by its naval might, which comprises both traditional carriers and nuclear-powered submarines. Its military has been cementing authority since the military coup that toppled Morsi and established al-Sisi in charge. Last year, a referendum was held on proposed constitutional amendments that would give the army greater powers, which campaigners believe would lead to military interference in civilian issues.
2. Algeria: Algeria, like its North African rival, has taken advantage of its extensive maritime border. The country has developed significant military capabilities on land, in the air, and the sea. The country, on the other hand, is a distant second in the global rankings, coming in at number 27.
According to GFP, Algeria’s military force is a formidable force, the strongest in Africa’s Militia Force, with 120,000 effective front-line men and a military defense budget of $10.57 billion. This financial allocation placed them as one of Africa’s best-armed forces, with roughly 1,500 armored war vehicles at their disposal. The country is in unrest following the departure of the nation’s long-serving head of state, but the military has proven a voice as the country’s insecurity and civil unrest persist.
Algeria’s soldiers have been the only force capable of effectively battling the Islamic forces who came dangerously close to seizing power following the country’s independence.
3. South Africa: South Africa employs its super-advanced military for maintaining peace and international collaboration because it hasn’t been involved in an international military confrontation in a long time. Despite the lack of combat, the government maintains a massive $5 billion defense expenditure.
With an estimated budgetary defense expenditure of roughly $5 billion, over 65,000 active military troops, 17,000 reserve people, 191 amour tanks, 213 warcraft, and 30 naval strength, the GFP considers them to be Africa’s third most powerful military in 2022.
It’s aircraft and naval boats are well-known for being well-equipped with cutting-edge technology, but it also has the capability and people to do much more. When you add in a diverse range of land system technology, the South African military is a formidable opponent.
4. Nigeria: The Nigerian army has been fighting the Boko Haram insurgency for more than a decade. Despite significant successes during Buhari’s first term, the army has recently suffered some setbacks, indicating that it is better equipped for conventional warfare than the jihadists’ guerrilla methods.
Despite political and leadership instability, corruption, and a lack of sophisticated weapons to battle insurgency and terrorism in the country, the Nigeria Military Force is recognized as Africa’s fourth most powerful military force.
Despite these setbacks, Nigeria’s Armed Forces have increased their military strength to nearly 1,400 armored vehicles, over 350 armored tanks, 6,000 logistical vehicles, 300 warcraft, and 25 high-powered naval vessels, with a budgetary defense allocation of about $2.4 billion, ranking them fourth in Africa.
Recommended: Most protected people in the world 2023
5. Ethiopia: Ethiopia, as a landlocked country, has invested heavily in its army and air force (the GFP does not penalize landlocked countries for lacking a naval force). Its current force is in the hundreds of thousands, and it possesses a massive arsenal of air and land weaponry.
Ethiopia’s large population allows it to maintain a large military, making it one of the continent’s most powerful. Ethiopia, Africa’s fifth most powerful military force, boasts a $340 million yearly defense budget, 140,000 ground forces troops, 3,300 air force personnel, 550 armored vehicles, and 85 warcraft. Their military might come from their visible active personnel and massive armament.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has had a good relationship with the military since assuming power, with military officials seen watching some of the PM’s initiatives and hearing about his vision for the country. Internal unrest has plagued the country for years, and with the terrorist group al-Shabaab posing a threat, a strong military has become crucial.
6. Angola: The army, navy, and air force are the three components of the Angola Military Forces. President Lourenco’s change plan swept through the armed forces earlier last year, with 88 generals dismissed from their jobs. This follows a year since the chief of staff was fired after the state attorney named him in a corruption investigation.
Angola currently has 107,000 active front-line military personnel and 100,000 paramilitary service members, in addition to the nearly 3 million individuals who have been deemed fit for military service.
Angola boasts 140 armored tanks and 270 warcraft, placing them sixth in Africa and 58th internationally in terms of military troops and air force personnel. Because of the Angolan government’s affiliation with Russia, the majority of their weapons come from the Soviet Union, which they acquired in the 1980s during the widespread civil conflict that ravaged primarily African countries and their neighbors.
Recommended: Most dangerous people in the world
7. Morocco: With a defense budget of $3,400,000,000.00, the Moroccan Military Forces are Africa’s seventh-strongest and most formidable force. The Morrocan military is a huge, expensive, and well-trained force with substantial counter-insurgency, desert war, and a combination of air-land operations expertise. The Moroccan Royal Armed Forces have 291 aircraft, 1,109 battle tanks, and 121 naval assets, including three frigates and four corvettes.
The military personnel of the Moroccan Military Forces number 346,000, with 196,000 active soldiers and 150,000 reserve personnel. Morocco’s military forces are known as the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces. The Army, Navy, Air Force, Royal Gendarmerie, and Royal Guard make up this group.
Despite its considerable budget, financing partners like the United States have claimed that the country is nevertheless “ridden by corruption, an incompetent administration, and poor education levels in the ranks.” The majority of its military is stationed in Western Sahara, which is still its largest weakness.
8. Sudan: With a defense budget of $2,470,000,000, the Sudanese Military Forces are Africa’s eighth-strongest and most formidable military. There are 191 aircraft, 410 battle tanks, and 18 naval assets in the Sudanese Armed Forces, but no Frigates, Destroyers, Corvettes, or submarines. It has a total of 189,000 people, with 104,000 active duty and 85,000 reserve members.
The Sudanese Military Forces are the Sudanese Republic’s armed forces. During the 39-month democratic transition that began in September 2019, the August 2019 Draft Constitutional Declaration designates the joint civilian-military Sovereignty Council as the Supreme Commander of the Sudanese Armed Forces.
In terms of having one of Africa’s top ten greatest and most powerful militaries, the civil war-prone country commands some sort of command.
Recommended: Advantages and Disadvantages of Being a Leader
9. The Democratic Republic of Congo: With a defense budget of 162 million dollars, the Military Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo are Africa’s ninth-strongest and most formidable force. The congo Armed Forces possess 41 aircraft, 175 combat tanks, and 20 naval assets, but no Frigates, Destroyers, Corvettes, or submarines. It has 134,000 active personnel and no reserve personnel.
The Military Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the government entity in charge of the country’s defense. Following the time of the Second Congo War in July 2003, the military force was only partially reconstructed as part of the peace process.
10. Libya: Libyan military forces faced their first civil conflict in 2011, which brought an end to Muammar Gaddafi’s rule, causing turmoil and, as a result, reorganization of the country’s military resources was affected throughout the war. Despite a $3 billion annual budget, Libya nevertheless has the tenth-strongest national armed force in Africa.
Libya is still recovering from the aftermath of the civil war that erupted as a result of the Arab Spring, and reconstructing the African nation is proving difficult. The Libyan Military Forces are Africa’s tenth-strongest and most powerful military and the least powerful on this ranking.
Libyan Military Forces have 118 aircraft, 300 battle tanks, and only five naval units, including one frigate. There are no Destroyers, Corvettes, or submarines on the island. It has only 30,000 active personnel and no reserves.
Recommended: How To Overcome Fear Of Driving (Driving Phobia)
11. Tunisia: Tunisian military was founded on 30th June, 1956 with the headquarters at Tunis. It has service branches which include: Army, Navy, and Air Force. Today, the Tunisian military has 89,800 personnels who are well trained and maintained to defend the country.
As at 2019, this country had armed forces with more than 150,000 active-duty personnels, and 80,000 out of them were conscripts. Paramilitary forces comprised of a 12,000-member national guards. Over the years, this country has been participating in the efforts of the United Nations peacekeeping in the Côte d’Ivoire and DROC (MONUSCO).
The deployments of the United Nations peacekeeping for the Tunisian armed forces have included: Somalia, Cambodia (UNTAC), Namibia (UNTAG), Burundi, Ethiopia/Eritrea (UNMEE), Rwanda, and the 1960s mission in the Congo, ONUC.
12. Cameroon: The military force in Cameroon was formed in 1960 with the headquarters at Yaounde. Its service branches include: Army, Navy, Air Force, Gendarmerie, and Fire Fighter Corps. These armed forces have bases spread all over Cameroon such as: Ngaoundéré, Douala, Garoua, and Bamenda.
As at 2024, Cameroonian military force has generally remained loyal to the government and acted in order to ensure the stability of the regime, and not as an independent political force.
This contributes to its growth and improvement most recently.
Again, Chinese military has an ongoing relationship with Cameroonian military, which includes: organizing trainings for Cameroonian military students in China on yearly basis, providing technical advisors to assist in repairing Cameroonian military vehicles and naval vessels, and sales of Chinese military. All these provisions have equipped the Cameroonian military immensely to meet up with the requirements in the country.
13. Kenya: The main purpose for the Kenyan Defence Force is to protect the territory and sovereignty of Kenya. Recruitment to the Force is done on yearly basis and it currently has 50,000 active personnels.
Today, the Kenyan president is the commander-in-chief of the Defence Force in the country which is the highest-ranking military office, and is the principal military adviser to the President.
However, Kenyan Defence Forces has been allegedly tainted by corruption but because its operations have been locally cloaked by the prevalent blanket of “state security”, the corruption has been less in public view and as such, subject to public notoriety and scrutiny. However, the Force in Kenya is so strong and active despite the allegations and views regarding its functions.
14. Uganda: The Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) is the armed forces of Uganda and was founded in 1962 after the independence of the country with its headquarters at Kampala.
From 2007 to 2011, the International Institute for Strategic Studies estimated the UPDF had a total strength of 40,000–45,000 and consisted of an Air wing, Land forces, Reserve forces, and Special Operations Command. Recruitment to the forces is done on yearly basis. As at 2023, Ugandan military is among the strongest because of its functions and active services to the country.
Recommended: Differences Between Criminal Law And Criminology
Although certain African countries may have more troops than some of the countries on this list, their equipment, logistics, and utility equipment may be outdated. The list of Africa’s most strong militaries demonstrates how far Africa has progressed in terms of military personnel. Extremist and violent groups have threatened to attack these countries.
Edeh Samuel Chukwuemeka, ACMC, is a lawyer and a certified mediator/conciliator in Nigeria. He is also a developer with knowledge in various programming languages. Samuel is determined to leverage his skills in technology, SEO, and legal practice to revolutionize the legal profession worldwide by creating web and mobile applications that simplify legal research. Sam is also passionate about educating and providing valuable information to people.