In recent years, African countries have increased spending on their militaries. This is mainly due to the need to fight terrorist organizations and rebel factions that have emerged across most parts of the continent.
According to data compiles by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), while African countries don’t spend much on their militaries compared to developed nation, the ratio of annual budget spent on armies on the continent is among some of the highest in the world.
Recent slowdown in economic activity in top African countries due to lower commodity prices have however affected some government spent on the military, SIPRI said.
Some of the countries with the highest budgetary allocations to their militaries include:
It is Africa’s newest independent, after breaking from Sudan in 2011. In 2015, 28 percent of the country’s budget was spent on the military, Sudan People’s Liberation Army, which has been fighting rebels since December 2013. It has 210, 000 servicemen and women. The nation’s population is 12, 042, 910 people.
The nation’s military was formed in 1983 as a guerilla movement by the late John Garang, who led the nation’s fight for independence until his death in 2005.
SPLA has been accused by international community for massive war crimes as it battles rebels in the oil-rich nation. These include suffocating civilians and rebels to death, rape, use of child soldiers and forced displacement of population.
It has a population of 39,542,166 people. The national army has 512, 000 servicemen and women. Since 2004, it has doubled its military expenditure. Annually, it spends about US$ 10.4 billion. Currently, Algeria spends 14.3 percent of its annual budget on military.
Most of the money is used to buy unmanned drones from China, armored vehicles from Germany and helicopters and submarines. In April 2016, the North African country increased orders fro MI-28NE a multi-mission attack aircraft, from Russia.
The nation faces terror threats from jihadist groups in the region, mainly Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and Al Mourabitoum. The two terrorists groups are led by Abdelmalek Droukdel and Mokhtar Belmokhtar, who are both Algerians.
It is one of the major producers of oil in Africa. Angola has a population of 24.3 million people. It spent 11.5 percent of its budget on the military in 2015.
It has 120, 000 servicemen and women, both and reserve. Increased demand for navy vessels, fighter jets, unmanned aerial vehicles, multi-purpose military aircrafts and border security equipment will push the nation’s expenditure to $13 billion by 2019.
In April 2015, opposition politicians accused the military of killing about 1000 members of the Seventh Day Light of the World Church in Mount Sumi.
The Southern African country has a population of 2.4 million. Its military has 9,500 servicemen and women. It spent $120 million on its military in 2015, which was 11.3 percent of its total annual budget.
In 2015, the nation started plans to increase by 30 percent the number of women serving in its military, in accordance with the creation of the United Nations Security Council’s Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.
It is a Central African country, rich in gold and uranium. Chad is the fifth biggest country in Africa. It has a population of 11.8 million people. It spent 10.8 percent of its annual budget on the military.
Its military consists of Armed Forces, Republican Guard, Rapid Intervention Force, Police, National and Nomadic Guard. The military has 30,500 personnel currently serving.
Chad’s military has been active in fighting the Boko Haram rebels in neighboring Nigeria. Since 2013, it has helped combat Islamist militants in northern Mali.
It is a Muslim-dominated country in West Africa. Mali has a population of 14.8 million people. It spent 10.7 percent of its budget on military. The country’s military has 7,500 servicemen and women currently serving.
Since 2012, the nation has experienced civil conflicts after as military coup that overthrew President Amadou Toumani. Islamist fighters have conducted several attacks in the capital, Bamako.
The military has been accused by human rights organizations of arbitrary detention and torture in its battle against Islamist fighters in Southern Mali, since 2013.
It is an Islam-dominant nation in North Africa. Morocco has a population of 32.6 million. It spent 10.6 percent of its annual budget on the military. The Royal Moroccan Army was founded on May 14, 1956. It has two commands, one for the northern part and another for southern region (Western Sahara). It has active personnel of 200,000 men and women and 150,000 servicemen and women in active reserve.
In 2011, the Royal Moroccan Army helped North-Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Operation Unified Protector in Libya that was aimed at stabilizing the country after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.
Morocco is also faced with the regional terror threat from Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), which have grown in the region due to the political instability in Libya.
It is a landlocked nation in Southern Africa. Zimbabwe has a population of 13 million. It spent 9.2 percent of its annual budget on the military. It has a total of 51,800 servicemen and women, both in active service and active reserves. In 2009, the army conducted a rural recruitment drive for teenagers after junior and middle-ranked officers deserted the force over low pay.