Except for a few very developed countries, and others that are dependencies, it is necessary to have a strong military in order to be a strong country. The strongest militaries in Africa, therefore, provide the leverage upon which African countries can build so as to become developed societies with powerful economies.
In the unique African setting, where there is a high probability of insurgency and other actions that can disrupt the peace of the society, it is absolutely necessary to have a large and well-equipped standing army to as to protect the people, the national assets, and the territorial integrity of each country.
The strength of a country’s military can also be used to determine its wealth; having a large military requires significant resources to maintain.
Top 10 Strongest Militaries In Africa
1. Egyptian Armed Forces
Total personnel – 1.3 million
Active military: 438,000
The Egyptian Armed Forces is the general name of the military power. It consists of about 1.3 million personnel, nearly 500,000 of whom are active personnel. This army is one of the most feared in Africa; with very well trained and disciplined soldiers.
The Egyptian Army is very well equipped; some of its equipment is produced by several countries such as the United States, Russia, France, China, Italy, Ukraine, and Britain.
Many of the equipment is manufactured locally at Egyptian factories.
The Egyptian armed forces have been involved in numerous crises and wars including; the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, the Egyptian Revolution of 1952, the Suez Crisis, Nigerian Civil War, War of Attrition, the Yom Kippur War, Egyptian bread riots, 1986 Egyptian conscripts riot, and most recently, the War on ISIL and the Sinai insurgency.
2. The Algerian People’s National Army
Total personnel – 467,000
Active military: 130,000
The Algerian People’s National Army is the general name for this army which comprises the Algerian Land Forces, Algerian National Navy, Algerian Air Force, Territorial Air Defence Forces, and Republican Guard.
Algeria is a very well-organized country; it is, therefore, no surprise that its military should be so well managed. The Algerian Military is very well trained, and adequately equipped.
The reputation of the Algerian Army comes from the fact that they perform exceedingly well in military drills, and they show the ability to use equipment properly under pressure. For this alone, this army is considered one of the best in Africa and the Arab world.
3. The Royal Moroccan Armed Forces
Total personnel: 395,000
Active military: 195,000
The Royal Moroccan Armed Forces are large, expensive, and well-trained with extensive experience in counter-insurgency, desert warfare, and combined air-land operations. The fact that they have jointly managed to keep their country peaceful so far is a testament to the ability and vigilance of the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces.
The Royal Moroccan Armed Forces’ latest budget was $6 billion; and the equipment comes from the United States, France, and the United Kingdom. The Royal Moroccan Armed Forces have existed continuously since 1088 but trace its history as far back as 225 BCE. This military organization is loyal to the King of Morocco and has been involved in several military exercises.
Ifni War, Rif revolt, Sand War, Six-Day War, October War, as well as the more recent Western Sahara War, Gulf War, Insurgency in the Maghreb, and most recently the Intervention in Yemen, and the Western Saharan clashes.
4. Eritrean Military
Total personnel: 321,000
Active military: 201,000
Eritrea is often described as North Korea; it is in a perpetual state of war readiness; perhaps a result of its turbulent history which has seen it have to fight for its sovereignty, and its very right to exist.
The Eritrean Defence Forces (EDF) is the combined military presence of Eritrea; this means the grouping together of the Eritrean Army, Eritrean Air Force, and Eritrean Navy.
The Eritrean Defence Forces have been said to conscript young people for military service, but only use them for forced labour. Nevertheless, this is one of the most prepared, most alert, and well-drilled military forces on the African continent; well versed in guerilla warfare, insurgency, and full military engagement.
5. Nigerian Armed Forces
Total personnel: 223,000
Active military: 143,000
The Nigerian Armed Forces (NAF) refers to the combined military forces of Nigeria; which consists of three uniformed service branches: the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy, and Nigerian Air Force. The Armed Forces take commands from the President of Nigeria; Commander-In-Chief but is managed by the Ministry of Defence.
The Nigerian Armed Forces were once considered the most powerful military power on the continent, and even now it is one of the strongest militaries in Africa; with equipment coming from The United States of America, Australia, Brazil, Belgium, China, Russia, United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, France, Portugal, Pakistan, Poland, South Korea, and South Africa.
The Nigerian Armed Forces have proven their mettle in several exercises such as; The Nigeria-Biafra war, The Liberian Civil War, Sierra Leone War, and so on.
Presently Nigeria is plagued by a number of Domestic Challenges, including the jihadist rebel group, Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria, the long-running anti-piracy campaign in the Niger Delta, and the separatist movement in the South East.
6. The Sudanese Armed Forces
Total personnel: 209,000
Active military: 104,000
The Sudanese Armed Forces are the military forces of the Republic of Sudan. Sudan’s military is one of those which has recently been involved in proper military engagement. For several years it was engaged in a war on its own soil; against the separatists, especially in Darfur. More recently, its forces participated in the Yemeni Civil War.
The Sudanese military budget is $4 Billion, and Russia, China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Morocco, Belarus, United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, United Kingdom, Jordan, Turkey, North Korea, Azerbaijan, and Ukraine.
7. South Sudan People’s Defence Forces
Total personnel: 185,000
Active military: 185,000
The South Sudan People’s Defence Forces (SSPDF), which was formerly known as the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), is the major military presence of South Sudan. The SPLA was founded in 1983 and was a key participant in the Second Sudanese Civil War, led by John Garang.
It has since grown into a very large army with over 185,000 active personnel, and a budget of over 10 billion pounds. Having freshly been engaged in military engagement, the South Sudan People’s Defence Forces is one of the most battle-ready armies in Africa.
8. The Ethiopian National Defense Force
Total personnel: 138,000
Active military: 138,000
The Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) is the military force of Ethiopia. The Ethiopian National Defense Force has recently been involved in military engagement; part of which was the civil war that resulted in the emergence of Eritrea. The Ethiopian National Defense Force; comprises the Ethiopian Ground Forces and Ethiopian Air Force.
The Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) has a budget amounting to $520 million and has Turkey, Russia, and Iran.
9. The Armed Forces Of The Democratic Republic Of The Congo DR Congo
Total personnel: 134,000
Active military: 134,000
The Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo refers to the organisation responsible for defending the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo are made up of the Land Forces, Air Force, and the Navy.
The Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic was established on 30 June 1960 and was rebuilt patchily as part of the peace process after the end of the Second Congo War in July 2003.
This military has a budget of US$93.5 million.
10. Angola Armed Forces
Total personnel: 117,000
Active military: 107,000
The Angolan Armed Forces FAA is the military of Angola. The FAA is made up of the Angolan Army, the Angolan Navy, and the National Air Force of Angola. The reported personnel strength of the Angolan Armed Forces is about 107,000.
The FAA has a budget of about $7 billion, and most of its equipment comes from Brazil, Russia, Moldova, the United States, Belarus, Italy, Cuba, and South Africa.
The strongest militaries in Africa need to have been recently involved in military engagements. This is because while all the money and equipment are very important, the most important factor that determines the greatness of an army is its morale; the courage to face the enemy even in perilous moments.