AFRICANGLOBE – When it comes to the military strength of all African countries, the keywords to consider are “not enough information.”
The Global Fire Power ranking, or GFP, measures countries’ military strength and assigns a power index number in order to compare them to other countries. Many factors are taken into consideration, and smaller countries can compete with larger ones due to points given for refinement and technological advancement.
Based on available information, the following countries represent the most powerful militaries in Africa as of Aug. 4 2014, according to GlobalFirepower.com.
Numbers reflect each country’s power index, derived from a unique algorithm developed by GFP. A perfect score is a 0.0000. The lower the number, the stronger the military, and bonuses and penalties are added to country scores as needed.
16. Zimbabwe – Power Index: 3.0955
The Zimbabwe Defense Forces (ZDF) include the Zimbabwe National Army and the Air Force of Zimbabwe. Being a landlocked country, they lack a naval force. The country also holds a strong paramilitary force with its own air wing. ZDF includes 30,000 active personnel, 20,000 reserves, 325 armored fighting vehicles, and 92 aircraft.
15. Ghana – Power Index: 2.9726
The Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) are supervised by the Ghanaian Ministry of Defense, and are under the command of President John Dramani Mahama. The GAF’s external operations since the 1960s have seen involvement in turbulent international situations including the Rwandan genocide, the Iran-Iraq war, and the Lebanese Civil War. Active front line personnel number 13,500, armored fighting vehicles for the land forces number 125, and the GAF has 24 aircraft, and 23 naval vessels.
14. South Sudan – Power Index: 2.7689
Founded as a guerrilla movement in 1983, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) played a large and violent role in the disastrous Second Sudanese Civil War. Its commander-in-chief is Salva Kiir Mayardit, and it has a land force with 110 tanks, 250 armored fighting vehicles, 210,000 active front line personnel, and a tiny air force with nine aircraft.
13. Uganda – Power Index: 2.6895
The Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) was formerly the National Resistance Army, renamed after the 1995 enactment of the constitution. It has almost managed to push the violent Lord’s Resistance Army — a children’s army — out of Uganda. UPDF relies heavily on Russian, Polish, and Chinese military materials. Its land systems consist of 350 armored fighting vehicles and 25 towed artillery pieces; 43 aircraft and eight naval vessels.
12. Democratic Republic of Congo –Power Index: 2.6642
The Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) started coming into its own after peace was restored following the horrendous Second Congo War, which ended in 2003. The military’s greatest asset is its land forces, although it also holds small air and naval units. Because of massive ongoing instability in the region, the U.N. has deployed armed forces to assist the FARDC. Some features of the DRC’s military include 90 tanks, 200 armored fighting vehicles, 42 aircraft types, and 20 naval vessels.
11. Sudan – Power Index: 2.3465
The Sudanese Armed Forces serve and protect the Republic of Sudan. Their units are comprised of the land forces, air force, navy, and the Popular Defense Force–the military wing of National Islamic Front. Their enemies are the rebel group the Sudan People’s Liberation Army of the Republic of South Sudan — a result of two violent civil wars that split the nation. They receive most of their military equipment from Russia and China, including 360 tanks, 400 armed fighting vehicles, 168 aircraft, and 18 naval crafts.
10. Libya – Power Index: 2.3353
The strength of Libya’s military comes mainly from its large cache of equipment, despite a relatively small number of active troops. Further hampering Libya’s abilities is the continuing violence and unrest stemming from the revolution which began in 2011. A stable government has yet to emerge from it. Regardless, the country still has available 2,500 armored fighting vehicles, 500 tanks, 600 towed artillery pieces, 6,500 logistical vehicles, and much more.
9. Angola – Power Index: 2.2599
The Angolan Armed Forces (FAA), headed by Chief of Staff Geraldo Nunda, succeeded the Armed Forces for the Liberation of Angola in 1991. It has three components: the army, the navy, and the air force. Its involvement in training the armies of Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau was controversial, especially as the leaders of the 2012 Guinea-Bissau coup d’etat cited Angola’s military mission as a primary reason for an uprising. The FAA owns 920 armored fighting vehicles, 140 tanks, 270 pieces of aircraft, and has a navy of 56 craft.
8. Tunisia – Power Index: 1.8635
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 hold 900 armored fighting vehicles, 350 tanks, a manpower of over five million, 139 pieces of aircraft and a total naval strength of 50.
7. Morocco – Power Index: 1.8499
Highly dependent on foreign equipment, the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces have been involved in the conflict with the POLISARO, a liberation movement fighting for the independence of Western Sahara. They are involved in numerous peacekeeping missions, including in Somalia. The military has at its disposal 2,120 armored fighting vehicles, 1,348 tanks, 323 total aircraft pieces, and a total naval strength of 121.