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The 10 Most Powerful Countries In Africa (2024)

The most powerful countries in Africa are the ones with the strongest military. The Global Firepower ranking uses over 50 variables, including the defense budget of the military, its capacity for logistics, and geographic area to calculate the power index of a country’s score. The Power Index report is developed from a unique in-house formula that allows smaller countries to compete with more technologically-advanced nations.

Egypt is the most powerful country in Africa. Many countries you thought were doing great are not even close to many of the strongest nations in Africa. The majority of African countries are investing massively in their defense and military systems. In addition, a strong influence on the political scene as well as growth and stability of the economy as well as strong international alliances are vital elements in determining the strength of a country.

Top 10 Most Powerful Countries In Africa

1. Egypt

Egypt is officially referred to as the Arab Republic of Egypt. It is Africa’s 3rd most populous and also the most populous country in the Arab world with a population of 100 million people. The country’s 0.1869 power index makes it the most powerful nation in Africa.

The entire population of the military is about 1,000,000, which includes the active military of 450,000. There are approximately 500 000 reserve soldiers within the country. Egypt has 1,054 fighter planes, 88 specially-designed attack aircraft, and 59 transport jets. Additionally, 387 trainer jets, 11 special aircraft, 294 helicopters, as well as 81 assault helicopters within the air force. Egypt’s defense artillery further comprises 4,295 tanks, 11,700 armored vehicles as well as 1,139 self-propelled artillery, 2,189 towed artillery, and 1,084 rocket launchers in its force on the ground.

Egypt’s navy is comprised of more than 316 assets, comprising 2 military aircraft, 7 corvettes, 7 frigates, 8 submarines, 48 patrols as well as 31 mine war vessels. The Egypt military is supported with a large defense budget of around $4.4 million.

2. South Africa

The Republic of South Africa is among the richest and most powerful countries in Africa with a population of about 60.14 million people. South Africa has a power index score of 0.4276 and an estimated total active military personnel to be 15,000 active soldiers and 66,500 reserve troops.

In terms of airpower, South Africa is a strong competitor within the African continent. They own 226 aircraft carriers, 17 fighter planes, 23 transport aircraft, 88 training jets, 7 special-purpose jets, and 12 assault helicopters within Air Force.

South Africa possesses 195 tanks and 2000 armored vehicles, 43 self-propelled artillery, 72 towed artillery along with 50 rocket propellers in the course of its land force. South Africa’s naval forces own 30 assets, which include three submarines, four frigates, 21 patrol boats, and 2 mine-warfare vessels. The defense budget for the country amounts to $4.2 billion.

3. Algeria

The People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria has a population of about 45 million people. Presently, the power index of Algeria amounts to 0.4724. Algeria has around 280,000 soldiers out of a total force of 20,741,263 in the available workforce.

There are only 130,000 active-duty troops while the remainder of 150,000 of them are reserve troops. Algeria is home to 551 aircraft,103 fighter aircraft, 22 attack jets, 59 transport aircraft, 9 trainer jets, 87 special mission helicopters, 257 jets, and 45 assault helicopters.

Furthermore, the Algeria Military owns 7361 armored vehicles, 320 self-propelled artillery, 240 towed artillery, and 316 rocket projectors that are part of the nation’s ground forces. There are 201 units in the naval forces of Algeria, which include the 3 corvettes, 5 frigates, 6 submarines, and 25 patrol vessels. The defense budget of the country is estimated to be more than $13 billion.

4. Nigeria

The Federal Republic of Nigeria has an estimated population of 216 million making it the seventh-most populous country in the world. It is also the most densely populated country in Africa. The power index rating for the country is 0.5745 making it one of the most powerful countries in Africa.

The country has an estimated number of active military personnel of 120,000 with the majority of them working in a full-time capacity. The military owns129 air carriers, 8 combatants, 3 dedicated attack jets, 21 transport jets as well as 47 training jets. 5 special purpose jets and 44 helicopters and 15 attack helicopters in their Air force.

The Nigerian military also owns 3 tanks and 1,789 armored vehicles, 25 self-propelled artillery, 339 towed artillery, and 36 rocket launchers that are part of its land force. The Nigerian Navy also has 75 assets, 100 patrol boats, and two mine warfare ships within their naval units. The defense budget supporting the Nigerian Military is about  $2.1 billion.

5. Morocco

The Kingdom of Morocco is one of the most powerful countries in Africa and has an estimated total population of 36.9 million people. It has a power index score of 0.8573 and is the 5th most powerful nation in Africa. The country is home to about 310,000 military personnel in active service.

The Moroccan military owns 1,443 tanks, 2,901 armored vehicles, 505 self-propelled artillery, 200 towed artillery along with 144 missile projectors within the ground forces. 4 corvettes, 3 frigates, and 105 patrol vessels constitute the nation’s navy weapon artillery. However, the country can boast a defense budget of $5.4 million.

6. Ethiopia

The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia has an estimated number of 120 million people. The power index of the country is 1.0798 with an estimated total military personnel active of 162,000.

The Ethiopian Air Force has 86 carriers, 24 fighter planes, 20 trainer aircraft, 33 helicopters, and 8 assault helicopters. Additionally, the Ethiopian Military owns 400 tanks, 114 armored vehicles, 67 self-propelled artillery, 600 towed artillery, and 183 rocket projectors. The country supports the military with a defense budget of $350 million.

7. Angola

Angola’s population is estimated to be about 33 million people making it the seventh biggest nation in Africa. The country has a power index score of 1.0931 making it one of the most powerful countries in Africa. The number of active military personnel in Angola is around 110,000. The country has a formidable air force that includes 270 aircraft carriers.

They also have 72 aircraft, 18 specialized attack jets, 30 transport jets, 47 jet trainers, 2 specialized aircraft for missions, and 15 attack helicopters making it Africa’s most formidable military. The Angolan Military further has 379 tanks, 595 armored vehicles, 28 self-propelled artillery, 357 towed artillery, and 115 rocket projectors. The defense budget of Angola is estimated at more than $700 million.

8. Libya

The State of Libya is the fourth-largest country in Africa and the 16th most populous country in the world. The country’s population is about 6.9 million people. Libya has a power index score of 1.3265. There are around 30,000 active military personnel.

The Libyan Military owns 250 tanks, 450 armored vehicles, 50 self-propelled artillery, 100 towed artillery, and 55 rocket projectors. The nation’s defense budget is estimated to be around $3.02 million.

9. Sudan

The Republic of Sudan is the third-largest country in Africa and the third-largest country in the Arab world. The country’s population is estimated at 45.7 million. The country is also home to estimated active military personnel of 105,000 people. The country has a power index score of 1.3382 and a defense budget of $287 million earning Sudan the title of one of the most powerful countries in Africa.

10. Tunisia

The Republic of Tunisia is one of the most powerful countries in Africa. It is the only country in North Africa that the Freedom House organization has classified as “Free”. Tunisia is home to an estimated population of 11.8 million people.

Additionally, it has active military personnel of approximately 36,000 and a power index score of 1.3664, and a defense budget of approximately $1.2 million.



The most powerful countries in Africa have the finest infrastructures and amenities for social life. In addition, technological innovation is at its zenith. This is why they draw millions of foreign workers and investors.

The governments of these countries have put in place policies that encourage foreign workers as investors by easing immigration regulations. These countries also have opportunities for professionals to explore. They also have a good history of both political and economic stability to allow foreigners to prosper.