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Who Has The Most Powerful Military In Africa: Nigeria, Egypt, Or South Africa?

Several factors define the strength of a country: economic progress, political stability, and military strength. But in my opinion, the reputation of a country depends largely on how it can defend itself, and that is dependent on its military strength. The US, Russia, and China are the most powerful and influential nations on earth today because they have superior military strengths. No nation in Africa however, comes near them. But there are three nations in the continent of Africa that have superior military firepower above many others.

Egypt, Nigeria, Algeria, and South Africa have the most powerful armed forces in Africa according to the 2021 reports by Global Firepower. According to the report, Egypt comes first, followed by Algeria, South Africa, and Nigeria in fourth place. But do you agree with the ranking by Global Firepower? Do Nigerians believe that South Africa and Egypt have better military than them? Well, let us deliberate on some of the criteria used by Global Firepower to rank nations' military forces.

Egyptian forces parading military hardware (Image: Egypt Defence Review/Twitter)

For most nations, the military is made up of the Army, Air Force, and Navy. Some weapons, like the nuclear bombs, prove decisive in ranking, but neither Nigeria, South Africa nor Egypt possesses it. South Africa was developing a nuclear program during Apartheid rule but it dismantled it. Had South Africa still possess nuclear power then it will be ranked among the powerful nations on earth. But because neither of these African three superpowers had nuclear weapons, their strength is measured based on the hardware of warfare they possess.

Nigerian army tanks (Image: Independent Newspaper Nigeria)

While ranking 140 nations of the world, Egypt ranked number 13 in the world and No 1 in Africa. Nigeria ranked 4th in Africa, trailing South Africa at number 3. Algeria takes the 2nd position. In terms of military personnel, active military men and women who are in service, Egypt ranked 11th in the world, Nigeria 46, and South Africa placed at position 49. Besides active military personnel, Egypt had 400,000 reserved fighters, South Africa 15,000, and Nigeria none! Should in case war breaks out and the Nigeria active military is decimated there is no trained reserve forces to be absorbed from the population.

South African military tanks (Image: Army Technology)

The Army of Egypt has over 3000 armour tanks, Nigeria has 355, and South Africa 222. The Nigeria army has other military hardware that can rival that of Egypt. The Naval forces of Egypt and South Africa are better than that of Nigeria. Egypt and South Africa have 3 submarines each, Nigeria has none. Although South Africa's navy is ranked below Nigeria's at number 56 out of 140, the Nigeria Navy ranked number 32 worldwide trails only that of Algeria at number 14 and Egypt at number 7. Meaning Nigeria has the 3rd most equipped Naval Force in Africa - but because it lacks a submarine it ranks lower than the others - in my opinion.

Egyptian soldiers (Image: Egyptian Independence)

The Nigeria Air Force has 125 military aircraft and is ranked 61 worldwide. Egypt ranks 10 with 1,053 aircraft, while South Africa has 22 aircraft and ranks number 45 worldwide. The Air Force is a decisive force in times of war, the more warplanes a nation has: bombers, fighter jets and helicopters, planes for moving troops and tanks and armour across great distances to back up the Army is crucial; the more powerful the nation is. How will these nations' military fare when faced with war, internal or external?

Armed Nigerian soldier(left) and South African soldier (right).

Both Egypt, Nigeria, And South Africa are sub-regional powers. Egypt has the better military in North Africa and is one of the best in the Middle East; South Africa is a power to reckon with Southern Africa. Nigeria is the de facto power in West Africa. Only the Egyptian and Nigerian military can be said to have tasted wars. Egypt has fought many wars in the Middle East, notably against Israel - and lost most of them. The Nigeria army had fought a Civil War and won and it is presently fighting terrorism in the country, for over a decade now! The South Africa military has not fought a very significant war as either Egypt or Nigeria. In terms of warfare experience, Egypt and Nigeria rank above South Africa.

But to rank their overall strength, besides the Global Firepower ranking, I am finding a hard time to rate them. It could be my bias, but I rate Nigeria as better, followed by Egypt and South Africa. You can share your ranking in the comment section below, and you can state the reason for the ranking.

Content created and supplied by: MbuyaziEmmanuel (via Opera News )

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