Top 10 African Military Power 2020: See Ethiopia's Rank

south african military helicopter drop

10 of the Most Powerful Military in Africa Today (2020)



Global Fire Power is an organization that is widely known for having a fairly accurate understanding of the militaries in the world. It uses its own calculation system based on the following parameters:

Manpower:

Total populations, available manpower, manpower fit-for-service, manpower reaching military age annually, active military manpower, and active reserve military manpower.

Air power:

Total aircraft strength, fighters and interceptors, attack aircraft, transports, trainers, total helicopters, attack helicopters, and serviceable airports.

Army Strength:

Combat tanks, armored fighting vehicles, self-propelled artillery, towed artillery, and rocket projectors.

Naval Power:

Total naval strength aircraft carriers, frigates, destroyers, corvettes, submarines, patrol craft, and mine warfare.

Financial Resources:

Annual defense budgets, external debt, reserves of foreign exchange and gold, and purchasing power parity.

Logistical Resources:

Labor force strength, merchant marine strength, major ports and terminals, roadway coverage, and railway coverage.

Natural Resources:

Oil production, oil consumption and proven oil reserves.

Geography:

Square land areas, coastline, shared borders, and waterway coverage.

Ethiopia has always been considered powerful militarily; from ancient times to the present.

The country has also had its fair share of wars. The country's most widely revered victory came during the First Ethio-Italo war, in which Ethiopia became the first African country to defeat a modern European army.

When it comes to her sovereignty, Ethiopia and her multitude of ethnicities and tribes put all their differences aside and unite to fend off any invaders encroaching on her territories.

During recent years, Ethiopia was ranked between the second and third as the most powerful military in Africa.

Recently, though Ethiopia has dropped to the 7th rank according to Global Fire Power.

The following guide will help you understand who the ten most powerful militaries in Africa are and why.


10. Libya 80/138


libyan soldiers with truck mounted rocket launchers

Libya is ranked 80 out of the 138 countries that were surveyed.

Despite having a relatively small number of active troops, the Libyan military makes up for this by having a large amount of equipment.

Regardless, of the current troubles faced by the country, it still has 17 fighter aircraft, 7 attack helicopters, 250 combat tanks, 450 armored fighting vehicles, and 55 rocket projectors.

The Libyans also spend a massive $3,000,000,000 on their defense budget.



9. Sudan 76/138


sudan military parade

image credit: en.people.cn


The Sudan is ranked 76 out of the 138 countries surveyed.

The Sudanese Armed Forces are on this list because they are a well organized and experienced military force. The military has several units: land, naval, and air.

The Popular Defense Force is the military wing of the National Islamic Front and it receives most of its military equipment from the Chinese and the Russians.

Some of their equipment includes 46 fighter aircraft, 38 attack aircraft, 43 attack helicopters, 690 combat tanks, 400 armored fighting vehicles, and 12 naval patrol craft.

The Sudan spends $2,470,000,000 on defense.


8. Democratic Republic of the Congo 71/138


drc soldiers marching

Democratic Republic of the Congo is ranked 71 out of the 138 countries evaluated.

The FARDC or the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo began its resurgence after the peace agreement brought relative quite to the country.

The Second Congo War saw mass devastation in loss of lives, property, and much more.

The FARDC's greatest asset is its land forces, which make up for their relatively low air and naval units. Some of their equipment is as follows: 175 battle tanks, 8 attack helicopters, 100 armored fighting vehicles, etc.

The Congo also spends 100,000,000 on its defense budget.


7. Ethiopia 60/138


ethiopian tank and soldiers

image credit: tigraionline.com/allnetafrica.com


Ethiopia is ranked 60 out of the 138 countries that have surveyed.

The Global Fire Power does not penalize a country for being landlocked and not possessing a naval force. Ethiopia has taken this disadvantage and focused its energy on maximizing its potential as a land and air force to be reckoned with.

Along with its impressive military equipment, it also has one of the largest populations on the continent, supplying it with a massive force when needed.

Although, mandatory military training is no longer a requirement in Ethiopia, they have the authority to call the people to arms when needed.

Unfortunately, Ethiopia has dropped in its rankings from previous years. It used to be a constant at second and third places but has now dropped to its current seventh.

It could be speculated that the country is now spending more money on its development schemes as opposed to increasing its military might.

Some of the equipment to be used by this massive force is as follows: 24 fighter aircraft, 8 attack helicopters, 400 combat tanks, 114 armored fighting vehicles, 183 rocket projectors, 67 self propelled artillery, 650 towed artillery, etc.

The EDF or Ethiopian Defense Forces budget is $350,000,000.


6. Morocco 57/138


moroccon soldiers at attention

image credit: moroccoworldnews.com


Morocco is ranked 57 out of the 138 countries that were analyzed.

The Royal Moroccan Armed Forces are heavily reliant on foreign military supplies. They are also involved in various peacekeeping missions in dangerous areas.

The military equipment it uses is as follows: 46 fighter aircraft, 1,443 combat tanks, 2,901 armored fighting vehicles, 144 rocket projectors, 3 naval frigates, 105 naval patrol crafts, etc.

Morocco spends an astounding $10,000,000,000 on its defense budget.


5. Angola 56/138


angolan soldier next to bm

image credit: historynet.com


Angola is ranked 56 out of the 138 countries that were surveyed.

The Angolan Armed forces have been fortunate enough to be part of a large development plan etched out by the current political forces in power.

The country's natural resources such as oil and diamonds have started to enrich the country and enabled it to rise in the ranks of Africa's most powerful militaries.

The equipment it uses is as follows: 72 fighter aircraft, 18 attack aircraft, 15 attack helicopters, 379 combat tanks, 115 rocket projectors, 595 armored fighting vehicles, 357 towed artillery, 37 naval patrol craft, etc.

The astounding budget for defense by Angola is $7,000,000,000


4. Nigeria 42/138


nigerian military on parade ground

image credit: pulse.ng


Nigeria is ranked 42 out of the 138 countries analyzed.

The country's navy, army and air force is supplied by a huge population, while its equipment is heavily supplied by its oil resources.

In war, resource is the key and Nigeria is not lacking.

Some of the equipment they utilize is as follows: 8 fighter aircraft, 13 attack aircraft, 15 attack helicopters, 253 combat tanks, 36 rocket projectors, 1,789 armored fighting vehicles, 339 towed artillery, 100 naval patrol crafts, etc.

The huge budget set aside for the defense of Nigeria is $2,155,000,000.


3. South Africa 29/138


south african military helicopter drop

image credit: businesstech.co.za/answersafrica.com


South Africa is ranked 29 out of the 138 countries surveyed.

This country's military can be compared with other developed European nations. Although their military front line personnel are less than 100,000 their equipment is world class of the latest technology.

South Africa is also the only African country that attempted to gain nuclear technology. Trained by the Israeli and the British, South African soldiers are definitely to be feared.

Some of their equipment encompasses the following: 17 fighter aircraft, 12 attack helicopters, 195 combat tanks, 50 rocket projectors, 2,000 fighting armored vehicles, 43 self-propelled artillery, 72 towed artillery, 4 naval frigates, 3 submarines, 31 naval patrol crafts, etc.

The Republic of South Africa allocates an incredible $4,278,000,000 on its defense spending.


2. Algeria 28/138


algerian military on display

image credit: defense.pk


Algeria is ranked 28 out of the 138 countries surveyed.

Algeria is arguably Africa's top spender on defense. The country's frontline personnel number over 127,000 troops and it is made up of a modern army funded largely by its oil resources.

Algeria has an abundance of equipment as the following numbers can easily illustrate why the country is a military powerhouse: 103 fighter aircraft, 22 attack aircraft, 45 attack helicopters, 880 combat tanks, 316 rocket projectors, 7,361 fighting armored vehicles, 320 self-propelled artillery, 240 towed artillery, 5 naval frigates, 6 submarines, 25 naval patrol crafts, etc.

The generous budget set aside for the defense of Algeria is $13,000,000,000.


1. Egypt 9/138


egyptian military and tanks

image credit: egypttoday.com/en.el-balad.com.com


Egypt is ranked 9th out of the 138 countries surveyed.

This country has been the military powerhouse of Africa for a long time and continues to be so. It was one of America's main military aid recipients for countless years.

Many speculated that the military would weaken due to the political instability, but it seems to have gotten even more powerful. Its huge 500,000 active frontline personnel are ahead of all its African counterparts.

Egypt is also the only country in Africa to have not one but two aircraft carriers.

The following are some of its equipment: 215 fighter aircraft, 88 attack aircraft, 81 attack helicopters, 4,295 combat tanks, 1,084 rocket projectors, 11,700 armored fighting vehicles, 1,139 self-propelled artillery, 2,189 towed artillery, 2 aircraft carriers, 7 naval frigates, 8 submarines, 45 naval patrol craft, etc.

The Egyptian government allocates $11,200,000,000 for its defense spending.