Ethiopia the 2nd Strongest Military Forces in Africa after Egypt

Recently the website Global Firepower ranked 68 countries by their military strength in 2013. Seven countries from Africa made the list but Uganda never did no matter the praises that it has one of the most well-trained armies on the continent. Not even it’s role in African peacekeeping forces put it any close.

Here are the seven that were featured and why are they the strongest military powers in Africa.


This was the first African country to make the list in position 14th. The Egyptian military has four main service branches: the army, navy, air force and air defense command.

Egypt Soldiers

Egypt Soldiers – Photo by Newscom 

 According to Global Firepower Egypt has more than 800 military aircraft and 200 helicopters.  Its navy has two Corvettes and four submarines in addition to various other vessels.

 One of the reasons Egypt ranks so highly is due to the support from international allies – in many instances this support takes the form of equipment. The US provides Egypt with military assistance annually in order to promote stability on the continent; they reportedly provided $1.39 billion in 2013. Egypt has in turn provided support to their allies on the continent, helping to train their armed forces; however Egypt’s main military focus has been on the Middle East, rather than Africa.

According to reports the Egyptian military also controls large portions of the economy, the number has been put as high as 40%.



This ranked 28 globally and 2nd on the African continent and this is a result of its large population and the long independence from colonisation. Its military is made up of an army and an air force. Earlier this year it was reported that the Ethiopian military had developed their first drone (unmanned aerial vehicle); a military technology most often associated with the United States.

Ethiopia Army

Ethiopia Army – Photo By Newscom

The country’s active involvement in international peacekeeping efforts in various conflicts all over the continent has also honed their defense force. As of 2012 Ethiopia reportedly had around 150 000 personnel in their ground forces and a further 3000 air force personnel. Global Firepower reports that they have just over 300 tanks, 147 aircraft and 68 helicopters.


South Africa

The South African National Defence Force is comprised of the South African army, navy and air force, as well as a military health service. According to Global Firepower the country’s arsenal includes 250 tanks, 240 rocket projectors, 235 aircraft and three submarines. While South Africa has one of the smaller armies on this list in terms of personnel, they are considered the most advanced military in terms of technology.


South African Army recently in Central Republic of Africa

South African Army recently in Central Republic of Africa – Photo By Newscom 

Before the end of Apartheid South Africa had developed nuclear weapons, and despite destroying them, there is still a weapons development industry in SA. The country is now starting to take a more active role in international peacekeeping efforts on the continent, but the recent tragedy in Central African Republic has shone a spotlight on the weaknesses of the the SA armed forces, ranking it 34 on the global.



This army is made up of close to 500 000 personnel, split between the army, navy and air force. They are very active in combined peacekeeping efforts on the continent.


Nigerian Army on parade

Nigerian Army on parade – Photo By Newscom 

According to Global Firepower Nigeria has 363 tanks, 294 aircraft and 84 helicopters and ranks 36 on the global. This army in particular has been active internally, primarily in the north of the country. The army has been criticised for their heavy-handed manner in dealing with civilians in their conflict with Boko Haram.

The Nigerian navy also has four corvettes. The strength of the armed forces has been a result of the contentious nature of Nigerian politics since independence. There were 10 military coups in Nigeria between 1966 and 1999 and there was also a civil war between 1967 and 1970. The budget is $3.7 billion.



The Algerian military which is known as the People’s National Army ranked 38. The force is both large, with more than 120 000 active personnel, and well equipped.

Algerian Army undergoing  training routines

Algerian Army undergoing training routines – Photo By AFP

They are supplied mainly by Russia and China. The military is comprised of an army, navy and air force. Algeria’s military has an impressive tally of 1050 tanks according to Global Firepower. They also reportedly have 148 rocket projectors, 409 aircraft, 136 helicopters, three Corvettes and three submarines.


The Algerian army is believed to be very involved in domestic politics; this may be as a result of there being nothing much for them to do as they have not been involved in any international conflicts since 1976.



Kenyan Army on parade

Kenyan Army on parade – Photo By Newscom 

Kenya Defence Forces, which ranked 46 is known as the East African nation’s military, is comprised of an army, navy and air force. With only 24 120 active personnel it is one of the smaller forces on the continent; however the nation’s strategic location means the Kenyan military has been highly active since its inception. It is supplied by the US, and has a budget of around $800 million.

According to Global Firepower, Kenya has 186 tanks, 12 rocket projectors, 148 aircraft and 78 helicopters. Kenya’s military has been involved in several UN peacekeeping missions in Africa and Europe. They have also worked closely with Somalia’s military in order to take on Al-Shabaab and have joined The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) to further aid their cause.


Historically Libya had one of the largest military forces on the continent, but following the Libyan revolution in 2011 the previous army was disbanded and the Libyan National Army was created. It ranks 59 on the global.

Libyan assembly  of

Libyan assembly of Tanks – Photo By Newscom

The Libyan military currently has between 35 000 and 40 000 personnel. Their equipment arsenal remains impressive as they inherited the equipment from the former army the Armed Forces of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.

The current force is made up of ground forces, an air force and a navy. According to Global Firepower they have 500 tanks, 800 rocket projectors, 621 aircraft, a frigate and a Corvette.


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  • Truth

    Ethiopian warriors ain't second to none. Historically, Ethiopian's have beaten Egyptian invaders in many battles through our long history. We have fought back the Ottomans to The fascists to preserve our independence. knowing our fighting skill and bravery in wars, Mussolini even used unconventional weapons like mustard gas against us. After 5 bloody years, we managed to kick his ass out of Ethiopia too. Remember, we managed to beat our adversaries with traditional old weapons while they used modern state of art weapons of that era. Egypt is ranked number one because they're more popular than Ethiopia. I have to admit they won many more African football cups than us.

  • emnet

    z report is very crucial,it can possibly avoid any miscalculation of hostile act over our nation n abov ol our enemy will not easily underestimate n threat our country any more bt if they think so not 2day its only enough 2 look back our deed in history how we were defended our nation without well organized army and without advanced n sophisticated military weapon. zis lesson mst b learnt!!

  • Ayizohibel

    We Ethiopians are unique,hero and visionary. Our best feature is love people,help to one other and support those who need our effort .The philosophy that Ethiopian have ,work together,eat together, grow together and defend together for enemies like ***en Egipian leaders .These made Ethiopian to have a hero and winner history mark in the world.

  • nathanael zegeye

    we lead the world not only africa

  • mule

    No matter about number of jet we were wine fascist in jegra, so no one can't defeat my country, Egypt is simple.

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