Half Of 12 Most Powerful Militaries In Africa In 2016 Are In The North

Half Of 12 Most Powerful Militaries In Africa In 2016 Are In The North

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A majority of Africa’s most powerful militaries ranked by the latest report by Global Fire Power (GFP) are from the northern part of the continent indicating increased spending in the region after the Arab Spring of 2011.

The report shows that six out of the top 12 countries on the continent surveyed are from North Africa. Egypt and Algeria maintained their position at the top the chart of 30 African countries included in the index

Egypt also ranked 12th out of 126 countries in the world.

Others north African countries in the top 12 most powerful militaries in the continent included Morocco, Libya, Sudan and Tunisia.

While there is still not enough information about the military strength of all African countries, the opens of most African government in terms of their military spending has improved over the years, according to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

GFP considered more than 50 factors in determining each nation’s power index score. The smaller the value of the index the more powerful a country’s military is, with 0.0000 being the perfect score.

“The factors are set within our algorithm which attempts to provide a fair canvas that allows smaller, yet technologically-advanced powers to compete with larger, lesser-developed ones,” GFP said.

“In the end, we hope it represents an unbiased ranking and realistic outlook on the conventional military firepower and strength of a given country for a given year.”

Here are the 12 biggest, baddest, most powerful militaries in Africa in 2016:

Sources: AFKInsider, GFP, Aljazeera


1 Egypt

Power Index: 0.3056

Egypt has over 470,000 frontline military personnel and more than 800,000 in reserve. The country has the manpower, equipment which covers the air, land, naval power and the petroleum to sustain its army among other factors. It has 13,949 armored fighting vehicles, 60,000 logistical vehicles, 1,133 aircraft, 8 submarines and enough financial banking from its vast oil reserves.

Algerian military Photo: Reuters/DailyMail
Algerian military (Photo: Reuters/DailyMail)

2 Algeria

Power Index: 0.4514

Algeria has an active frontline personnel of over 512,000 troops, over 400,000 reserve personnel,  1,898 armored fighting vehicles, 6 submarines and also has the financial backing of its vast oil ,reserves.

Ethiopian defense forces Photo: tigraionline.com
Ethiopian defense forces (Photo: tigraionline.com)

3 Ethiopia

Power Index: 0.7619

Ethiopia, a landlocked horn of African country with the second largest population on the continent after Nigeria, has 185,000 frontline personnel and 800 armored fighting vehicles. An enormous population of over 96 million people allows Ethiopia to maintain a large fighting force, and gives the country one of the greatest militaries on the continent.

A former general in the Nigerian army, Buhari is sworn in. Photo: Asahi Shimbun/Getty
Buhari, a former general in the Nigerian army, is the current president (Photo: Asahi Shimbun/Getty)

4 Nigeria

Power Index: 0.7856

Nigeria is Africa’s leading economy and the most populous nation on the continent with more than 170 million people. It has an active frontline personnel of 130,000 troops, 32,000 in reserve and 1,420 armored fighting vehicles. The country, which is the largest oil producing nation on the continent, depend on its oil revenue to finance it military budget in the fight against the Islamic militant group Boko Haram.

South African army Photo: weeklytimesofindia.com
South African army

5 South Africa

Power Index: 0.8252

South Africa uses its highly advanced military for peacekeeping and international co-operation. Its aircraft and naval vessels are notoriously well equipped with the latest technology. The country has 89,000 active front line personnel, 17,100 in reserve, 2,265 armored fighting vehicles and three submarines.

Image: portalangop.co.ao
Image: portalangop.co.ao

6 Angola

Power Index: 0.8878

Angola’s ranking on the GFP index has improved tremendously in 2016 compared to 2015 when it had a power index of 1.8579 and was the ninth most powerful military on the continent, behind Kenya, Morroco and Tunisia. Angola has 90,000 active  frontline personnel, 30,000 in reserve, 538 armored fighting vehicles and a strong financial backing from its oil revenue.


7 Morocco

Power Index: 0.9011

The Royal Moroccan Armed Forces is involved in numerous peacekeeping missions in Africa, including in Somalia. The 200,000 strong military personnel has at its disposal 2,120 armored fighting vehicles, 1,215 tanks, 282 total aircraft pieces, and a total naval strength of 121.

Omar Hassan al-Bashir, Sudan. Photo: jfjustice.net
Omar Hassan al-Bashir, Sudan. Photo: jfjustice.net

8  Sudan

Power Index: 1.2356

The Sudanese Armed Forces receives most of it military equipment from Russia and China. Its fire power include 110,000 active ground troops, with 102,500 others in reserve. It has 330 tanks, 415 armored fighting vehicles, 178 aircraft, and 18 naval crafts.

Image: rt.com
Image: rt.com

9  Libya

Power Index: 1.3169

Libya has in recent years (Since the 2011 revolution) become a battle ground between Western powers and the increasingly vicious Islamic State caliphate. The strength of Libya’s military comes mainly from its large cache of equipment, despite a relatively small number of active troops. It has only 35000 active frontline personnel (with 81,000 in reserve), 340 tanks, 699 Armored fighting vehicles and a total 57 military aircraft.

Congolese Army Gen. Emmanuel Lombe Bangwangu Photo: Alain Wandimoyi/AFP/Getty
Congolese Army Gen. Emmanuel Lombe Bangwangu
Photo: Alain Wandimoyi/AFP/Getty

10  Democratic Republic of the Congo

Power Index: 1.3384

Years of civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo has left it with one of the best ground force that included former rebels. There are also large contingents of United Nation forces in the mineral rich country due to ongoing instability in some of its regions. The DRC military include 155,000 ground troops, 250 battle tanks and 45 fighter aircraft.

Kenyan military  Photo: Tom Maruko/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty
Kenyan military
Photo: Tom Maruko/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty

11  Kenya

Power Index: 1.3731

The Kenyan Defence Force has established it self as one of the most reliable participant in international peacekeeping missions. While it doesn’t have heavy fire power of its own 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. The country has 24,150 ground troops (with 5,000 in reserve), 591 armored fighting vehicles and a total 132 battle aircraft.

Tunisian PM Habib Essid visits Tataouine
Tunisian security forces
Photo: Tasnim Nasri /Anadolu Agency/Getty

12  Tunisia

Power Index: 1.4089

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 peacekeeping missions, including during the Rwandan genocide, and were forced into border clashes with Libyan rebels in 2011 during their civil war. They have 40,500 active frontline troops (with 12,000 in reserve), 679 armored fighting vehicles, 180 tanks, 141 pieces of aircraft and a total naval strength of 50.