Superpowers of Africa: Where Nigeria stands


Military might. Its what separates the victorious nations from the defeated in times of warfare. Presented below, we give you the top 10 most powerful nations in military might. You’ll be surprised what number Nigeria stands.

The following list presents 10 African countries and their rich history, alongside their military power – measured spending and personnel, and how they compare to other countries in Africa or the world in total.


credit: Wikipedia

With about 24,000 active personnel, the Kenya Defence Forces reach a budget of about $595 million. Kenya military is known for peacekeeping missions around the world, while also being infamously tainted by corruption allegations, including various cases of human rights violation in their counter-insurgency operations.Ever since the 21st century, the Kenya Defence Forces are under the supervision of the countries Parliament, and can no longer deploy in combat missions without permission.

Military spending rank (worldwide): 83

Military Spending rank (Africa): 8


The Nigerian Armed Forces are considered to be one of the strongest military forces in Africa, with 162,000 and a budget of $2.33 billion. Ever since the Nigerian Civil War has been concluded in the early 1970s, the Nigerian military has been expanding considerably. They are currently considered as the 5th strongest military in Africa and spends a large portion of its budget on aircraft, naval vessels, and other land armored vehicles.

Military spending rank (worldwide): 62
Military Spending rank (Africa): 7


Ghana’s military was formed in 1959 after all of the British officers were ordered to withdraw. The Ghana Army has a total spending of $120 million, with active military personnel of approximately 15,500.

Despite their somewhat small size, the Ghanaian soldiers were acknowledged through the region and were given high praise in several instances of peacemaking missions and conflicts across Africa.

Military spending rank (worldwide): 113
Military Spending rank (Africa): 21


The ZDF, or Zambian Defence Forces, has played a big role in a number of conflicts back in the 1970s and 1980s in its region. Despite not having a navy due to the country being landlocked, The ZDF is still a strong military force nonetheless, with $245 million worth of spending.

After the conclusion of the Cold War in Zambia, The ZDF has gone though many reforms, and as of today the ZDF has an active personal of 15,100.

Military spending rank (worldwide): 99
Military Spending rank (Africa): 18


Formerly known as the National Resistance Army, The Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) is another one of Africa’s leading military forces despite being initially crippled by ethnic divisions and low salaries. The UPDF’s total active personnel of about 46,800 as of today.

In terms of budget, however, the country’s defense spending is $280 million which roughly places them in the top 100 of the world’s highest budget defense forces.

Military spending rank (worldwide): 97
Military Spending rank (Africa): 17


The Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) isn’t considered one of Africa’s bigger defense forces due to its relatively low budget, with a total spending of $95 million. Yet, it would be better not to underestimate the Zimbabwean army, with 35,000 active personal and 22,000 reserve personnel, the Zimbabwe Defence Forces is truly a force to be reckoned with.

The Zimbabwe National Army is the largest and primary branch of the ZDF, it is responsible for all land operations and consists 30,000 of the military’s active personal.

Military spending rank (worldwide): 118
Military Spending rank (Africa): 25

South Africa

The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) is recognized through the world as one of Africa’s leading Defence forces. In fact, it is considered to be the 4th most powerful defense force in Africa, in spite of the fact that the army as we know it today, was formed in 1994. It has an impressive budget as well, mostly thanks to the country’s successful economy, with a remarkable $4.61 billion invested in the defense force.

With an active personal of 78,000, the SANDF also has many tanks and a strong naval force.

Military spending rank (worldwide): 43
Military Spending rank (Africa): 2


The Tanzania People’s Defence Force (TPDF) was founded in 1964. Tanzania hasn’t suffered from the horrors of a civil war unlike some of its neighbors. The TPDF’s total budget is estimated around $220 million.

Their active personal is 27,000 with a reserve personnel of about 80,00, ranking on 85th place in the world largest military forces in terms of total military personnel.

Military spending rank (worldwide): 101
Military Spending rank (Africa): 19


Originating from British colonial units, The Malawian Defence Force is one of the smaller military forces in Africa. Their budget is only $9 million and their active personnel is about 25,550. Being so small in size, it’s hard to compare the Malawian army in an international scale.

Despite so, The Malawian Defence Force has managed to establish thier own air force in 1976, 12 years after the army’s foundation, with assistance from Germany. The Malawian Defence Force also has a navy, however, it’s very small with no sizeable naval units, due to the country being landlocked.

Military spending rank (worldwide): <150
Military Spending rank (Africa): <40


The Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) strength and size has changed dramatically since the Ethiopia-Eritrea war was concluded, in 2000, for better and worse. Still, the ENDF remained one of Africa’s leading armed forces and considered to be the 3rd strongest defense force in all of Africa, with impressive active personnel of 382,500 and a total military spending of $340 million.

Their military consists of the usual branches – ground, air forces, and navy, with each of them being properly developed and invested.Military spending rank (worldwide): 93
Military Spending rank (Africa): 15

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