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Top 10 African Nations with The Largest Number of Military Personnel

This list of the African Nations with the largest number of military personnel might sure you.

It’s hardly the simplest task in the world to rank military forces throughout the world, but Global Firepower, a website that provides information on the military power of up to 136 nations worldwide, has published a report that does just that.

Although every military force or troop performs best in a distinct setting, the Global Firepower attempts to use more than 50 parameters to determine its ranks.

A few of the criteria utilized for ranking, according to Global Firepower, include the variety of weaponry, available manpower, logistical capability, and industrial base.

The size of the army and the pool of manpower from which a nation can draw are key elements of its military might.

With that being said, here’s a list of the top 10 African nations with the largest number of military personnel:

  1. Egypt
  2. Algeria
  3. South Africa
  4. Nigeria
  5. Ethiopia
  6. Angola
  7. Morocco
  8. Sudan
  9. DRC
  10. Libya

1. Egypt

Top 10 African Nations with The Largest Number of Military Personnel
source: NPR

Ranking first on the list of the African nations with the largest number of military personnel is Egypt.

Egypt exaggerates its military might due to the sheer size of its armed forces. The North African power is now ranked 12th in the globe.

The Egyptian Armed Forces are made up of the Egyptian Army, Egyptian Navy, Egyptian Air Force, and Egyptian Air Defense Command.

All of its African competitors are considerably outnumbered by the over 500,000 soldiers that make up its active frontline force.

It has 1,092 fighter planes, over 10,000 armored war vehicles, 60,000 logistics vehicles, and vast oil reserves.

It stands out for having a strong naval force that includes both conventional carriers and nuclear-powered submarines.

Since the military takeover that removed Morsi and installed al-Sisi as the leader, the military has been solidifying its hold on power.

A vote on proposed constitutional changes that would give the army more power was held last year.

2. Algeria

Top 10 African Nations with The Largest Number of Military Personnel
source: pinterest

Next on the list of African nations with the largest number of military personnel is Algeria.

Like its counterpart in North Africa, Algeria has profited from its broad maritime border. The nation has significantly improved its military prowess on land, in the air, and at sea.

On the other side, the nation comes up at number 27 in the overall rankings, a far cry from first.

With 120,000 effective front-line soldiers and a $10.57 billion military defense budget, Algeria’s military force is a formidable one, the strongest in all of Africa’s Militia Force, according to GFP.

With around 1,500 armored war vehicles at their disposal, they became one of Africa’s greatest armed armies thanks to this financial allocation.

After the long-serving head of state left office, the country is in turmoil, but the military has shown that it can speak out against the insecurity and civil strife.

The only group able to successfully combat the Islamic forces that came perilously close to capturing control of the country after independence has been Algeria’s military.

3. South Africa

Top 10 African Nations with The Largest Number of Military Personnel
source: alamy

Since it hasn’t engaged in an international military conflict in a while, South Africa uses its highly developed military to uphold peace and foster international cooperation.

Despite the absence of combat, the government continues to spend a staggering $5 billion on defense.

The GFP rates them as Africa’s third-most powerful military in 2022 with an expected budgetary defense spending of around $5 billion, with 65,000 active military personnel, 17,000 reserve personnel, 191 armored vehicles, 213 warships, and 30 naval forces.

Although its naval vessels and aircraft are well renowned for having modern technology on board, it also has the capacity and personnel to do much more.

The South African military is a strong foe when combined with a wide variety of ground system technology.

4. Nigeria

African Nations with The Largest Number of Military Personnel
source: The Guardian Nigeria

The Boko Haram insurgency has been fought by the Nigerian army for more than ten years.

The army has recently experienced some defeats despite notable victories during Buhari’s first term, showing that it is better prepared for conventional warfare than the jihadists’ guerrilla tactics.

The Nigeria Military Force is regarded as Africa’s fourth-most formidable military force despite political and leadership instability, corruption, and a lack of advanced weapons to combat insurgency and terrorism in the nation.

Despite these failures, the Nigerian Armed Forces have improved their military capabilities, making them rank fourth position on the list of African nations with the largest number of military personnel.

With almost 1,400 armored vehicles, over 350 armored tanks, 6,000 logistics vehicles, 300 warcraft, and 25 high-powered navy vessels, the Nigerian military personnel seems to be doing so well on the continent.

5. Ethiopia

Top 10 African Nations with The Largest Number of Military Personnel
source: medium

Ethiopia, a landlocked nation, has made significant investments in its armed forces and aviation (the GFP does not penalize landlocked countries for lacking a naval force).

It currently has a force of several hundred thousand soldiers, and it has a considerable arsenal of air and land weapons.

Due to its sizable population, Ethiopia has one of the strongest militaries on the continent.

With a $340 million annual defense budget, 140,000 ground forces personnel, 3,300 air force personnel, 550 armored vehicles, and 85 warcraft, Ethiopia is the fifth as one of the African nations with the largest number of military personnel.

Their large arsenal and visibly active personnel may serve as their military.

6. Angola

Top 10 African Nations with The Largest Number of Military Personnel
source: Alchetron

The Angola Military Forces are made up of the army, navy, and air force. 88 generals lost their jobs earlier in the year as a result of President Lourenco’s transformation agenda, which swept across the military.

This comes after the chief of staff was dismissed a year ago when the state attorney implicated him in a corruption probe.

In addition to the roughly 3 million people who have been found to be physically fit for military duty, Angola currently has 107,000 active front-line military soldiers and 100,000 paramilitary service members.

Angola is sixth in Africa and 58th globally in terms of military personnel and air force personnel, with 270 warcraft and 140 armored tanks.

Due to the Angolan government’s ties to Russia, the majority of its weapons, which they obtained in the 1980s during the extensive civil conflict that predominantly devastated African countries and their neighbors, were produced in the Soviet Union.

7. Morocco

Top 10 African Nations with The Largest Number of Military Personnel
source: morocco world news

The Moroccan Military Forces are Africa’s seventh-strongest and most powerful army, with a military budget of $3,400,000,000.00.

With extensive counter-insurgency, desert war, and a combination of air-land operations experience, the Moroccan military is a sizable, expensive, and well-trained force.

The Moroccan Royal Armed Forces are equipped with 121 naval assets, including three frigates and four corvettes, 1,109 battle tanks, and 291 aircraft.

The Moroccan Military Forces have a total of 346,000 soldiers, including 196,000 active duty members and 150,000 reserve men.

The Royal Moroccan Armed Forces are the name of Morocco’s armed forces. This group consists of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Royal Gendarmerie, and Royal Guard.

8. Sudan

Top 10 African Nations with The Largest Number of Military Personnel
source: morocco world news

The Sudanese Military Forces are Africa’s eighth-strongest and most powerful military, with a defense budget of $2,470,000,000.

The Sudanese Armed Forces have 18 naval assets, 191 aircraft, 410 combat tanks, but no frigates, destroyers, corvettes, or submarines.

There are 104,000 active duty personnel and 85,000 reserve members, for a total of 189,000 people.

The armed forces of the Sudanese Republic are known as the Sudanese Military Forces.

The August 2019 Draft Constitutional Declaration names the joint civilian-military Sovereignty Council as the Supreme Commander of the Sudanese Armed Forces for the duration of the 39-month democratic transition that started in September 2019.

The civil war-prone nation commands some form of command when it comes to having one of Africa’s top ten greatest and most powerful militaries.

9. The Democratic Republic of Congo

Top 10 African Nations with The Largest Number of Military Personnel
source: alamy

The Military Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo are Africa’s ninth-strongest and most potent force, with a military budget of 162 million dollars.

The Congelese Armed Forces do not have any frigates, destroyers, corvettes, or submarines, but they do have 175 battle tanks, 20 naval assets, and 41 aircraft.

There are no reserves and 134,000 active employees. The government body in charge of the nation’s defense is the Military Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The military force was only partially rebuilt as part of the peace process after the Second Congo War ended in July 2003.

10. Libya

Top 10 African Nations with The Largest Number of Military Personnel
source: sada el badad

The last on the list of African nations with the largest number of military personnel is Libya.

In 2011, when Muammar Gaddafi’s dictatorship came to an end, Libyan military forces encountered their first civil conflict.

As a result of the unrest, the restructuring of the nation’s military resources was impacted throughout the battle.

Despite having an annual budget of $3 billion, Libya possesses Africa’s tenth-strongest national military force.

The African country of Libya is having trouble rebuilding itself after the Arab Spring-related civil war, from which it is currently recuperating.

The Libyan Force Forces are ranked as the least powerful and tenth-strongest military in Africa.

Only five naval units, including one frigate, and 300 combat tanks make up the Libyan Military Forces. It has no reserves and roughly 30,000 active employees.

Conclusion

Several African countries have made progress in advancing their military forces. When it comes to size and strength, you will be surprised by Africa’s most powerful armies.

The ranking of Africa’s most powerful armies shows how far the continent has come in terms of military capacity.

Also read: 5 Conflict Stricken Places in Africa and How Their Economies Have Been Affected

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