Top 20 most powerful countries in Africa 2021 (by Global Fire Power Index report)

Top 20 most powerful countries in Africa 2021 (by Global Fire Power Index report)

It is not a surprise knowing that some countries are better positioned than others. The United States, for instance, has consistently dominated the first position on the list of the most powerful countries in the world. The nation has the largest economy globally, with the biggest military budget on human resources and military hardware. Narrowing it down to our continent, which are the most powerful countries in Africa? You may ask. Find out more from this article.

Most powerful African country ranking
Most powerful countries in Africa have strong military personnel including economic and political stability. Photo: @Michael Drummond (pixabay.com)
Source: UGC

Egypt, Algeria and South Africa are slowly gaining global visibility due to their growing military strength over the years. A look at the 2021 list of the most powerful African nations also reveals that North African countries are doing better than sub-Saharan countries.

What are the most powerful countries in Africa?

Several factors are considered when coming up with the most powerful African country. A strong military, great political influence, a stable economy and strong international alliances are some of the things that distinguish powerful nations. According to 2021's Global Fire Power Index, 0.0000 is considered the perfect score. Here is the full list of countries that make the top 20 across the continent.

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1. Egypt

Most powerful African country in history
Egypt has 450,000 active military personnel and a $10 billion military budget in 2021. Photo: @Mohamed El-Shahed
Source: Getty Images

Officially called the Arab Republic of Egypt, the country is the third most populous country on the African continent and the most populated nation in the Arab world. As per 2021 United Nations statistics, it has about 104 million inhabitants and a nominal GDP per capita of approximately $4,028.42. The nation has a power index rating of 0.2216, making it the first on the list of the top powerful countries in Africa. It has an estimated 450,000 active military personnel and a defence budget of about $10 billion.

2. Algeria

Most powerful countries in Africa 2021
Algeria's military budget in 2021 IS $13.904 billion. Photo: @picture alliance
Source: Getty Images

The People's Democratic Republic of Algeria has an approximate population of 43 million and a nominal GDP per capita of $3,815.25. As of 2021, the country's power index rating is 0.4439, with a defence budget of about $13.904 billion and approximate total active military personnel of 130,000.

3. South Africa

South Africa
South Africa has the best military resources in Southern Africa. Photo: @Guillem Sartorio
Source: Getty Images

The Republic of South Africa is one of the most powerful countries in Africa in 2021, with about 56 million people and a nominal GDP per capita of $5,121.04. As of 2021, the nation has a power index rating of 0.5665, estimated total active military personnel of 66,500 and a defence budget of about $3.597 billion in 2021.

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4. Nigeria

Nigeria armed forces
Nigeria is growing at a rapid pace and might be the next African superpower in a few years. Photo: @Audu Marte
Source: Getty Images

The Federal Republic of Nigeria has an approximate population of 214 million, making it the seventh most populous nation globally. The country's nominal GDP per capita is $2,396.04. As of 2021, its power index rating is 0.6241, with estimated total active military personnel of 120,000 and a defence budget of about $2.1 billion.

5. Morocco

Morocco special forces
The Moroccan defence budget in 2021 is $6 billion. Photo: @Fadel Senna
Source: Getty Images

The Kingdom of Morocco has an approximate population of 36 million and a nominal GDP per capita of $3,126.96. It has a power index rating of 0.8739, making it fifth on the list of powerful countries in Africa in 2021. The nation has an estimated active military personnel of 310,000 and a defence budget of about $6 billion.

6. Angola

Angolan troops
Angolan has 110,000 active military personnel and a defence budget of $7.65 billion in 2021. Photo: @AFP
Source: Getty Images

The Republic of Angola has an estimated population of 33 million, which makes it the seventh-largest country in Africa. It has a nominal GDP per capita of $3,213.78 and a power index rating of 1.0799. Angola's total active military personnel is 110,000, and its defence budget is $7.65 billion in 2021.

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7. Ethiopia

Ethiopia National Defence Forces
Ethiopia's military strength is the highest in Eastern Africa as of 2021. Photo: @Amanuel Sileshi
Source: Getty Images

The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia has an approximate population of 108 million and nominal GDP per capita of $826.95. The country's power index rating is 1.0901, with estimated total active military personnel of 162,000 and a defence budget of about $520 million in 2021.

8. Libya

Libya armed forces
Libya has a population of about 6.9 million and 30,000 active military personnel. Photo: @Mahmud Turkia
Source: Getty Images

The State of Libya is the fourth largest country in Africa and the 16th largest country globally. It has a population of about 6.9 million and a nominal GDP per capita of $4,046.63. As of 2021, the country's power index rating is 1.2736, with total active military personnel of about 30,000 and a $4.9 billion defence budget.

9. Tunisia

Tunisian Armed Forces
Tunisia is the only nation in North Africa classified as "Free" by the Freedom House organization. Photo: @Fethi Belaid
Source: Getty Images

Tunisia is the only nation in North Africa classified as "Free" by the Freedom House organization. Officially known as the Republic of Tunisia, the country has an estimated population of 11.7 million and a nominal GDP per capita of $3983.94. Tunisia has active military personnel of about 36,000, a power rating index of 1.4134 and a defence budget of approximately $810 million in 2021.

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10. Sudan

Sudanese Armed Forces
The Republic of Sudan has a population of about 105,000 active military personnel in 2021. Photo: @MoYousif98
Source: Twitter

The Republic of Sudan is the third-largest country in Africa and also the third-largest in the Arab world. Its population is about 45 million and a nominal GDP per capita of $1,939.93. The nation has an estimated total military personnel of 105,000, a power index rating of 1.5159 and a defence of $4 billion in 2021.

11. The Democratic Republic of the Congo

Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo
The DRC has about 135,000 active military personnel and a $90 million defence budget in 2021. Photo: @Niyazz
Source: Getty Images

The DRC is the 15th most populous country globally, with an estimated population of about 101 million and a nominal GDP per capita of $556.8. As of 2021, the nation has about 135,000 total active military personnel, a defence budget of about $90 million and a power index rating of 1.5507.

12. Kenya

Kenya Defence Forces
Kenya has a population of about 53 million, 24,000 active military personnel and a defence budget of approximately $1.1 billion. Photo: @Niyazz
Source: Getty Images

The Republic of Kenya is the 29th most populous country with an estimated population of 53 million and a nominal GDP per capita of $1,475.19. The country's power index rating is 1.7241 in 2021. It has an estimated total military personnel of 24,000 and a defence of about $1.1 billion.

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13. Zambia

The Zambia Defence Forces
Zambia has a power index rating of 2.0632 in 2021. Photo: @DancingMan
Source: Getty Images

The Republic of Zambia has an estimated population of 17 million and a nominal GDP per capita of $1558.32. Its power index rating in 2021 is 2.0632. The country has an estimated total active military personnel of 15,100 and a defence budget of about $43 million.

14. Uganda

Uganda People's Defence Force
Uganda has a power index rating of 2.1208 and is the 14th most powerful African country in 2021. Photo: @lwangacharles02
Source: Twitter

The Republic of Uganda has about 43 million people and a nominal GDP per capita of $958.19. It has a power index rate of 2.1208 in 2021 with estimated military personnel of 45,000 and a defence budget of approximately $930 million.

15. Chad

Chad National Army
Chad is a landlocked country in central Africa with a population of about 17 million and 30,500 active military personnel. Photo: @SuleimanHashi
Source: Twitter

The Republic of Chad has an estimated population of about 17 million and nominal GDP per capita of about $635.12. The nation has total active military personnel estimated at 30,500, a power index rating of 2.1523 and a defence budget of approximately $82.21 million in 2021.

16. Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe Defence Forces
Zimbabwe is the 16th most powerful African country in 2021. Photo: @Allexxandar
Source: Getty Images

The Republic of Zimbabwe has an estimated population of 15 million and a nominal GDP per capita of $1,058.85. As of 2021, the nation's power index rating is 2.1938, with estimated total military personnel of 30,000 and an approximate defence budget of $400 million.

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17. Ghana

Ghana Armed Forces
Ghana has a power index rating of 2.3606, making it the 17th most powerful country in Africa. Photo: @askahinde
Source: Twitter

The Republic of Ghana has an estimated population of over 29 million, making it the second populous country in West Africa after Nigeria. Its nominal GDP per capita is estimated at $1940.68. As of 2021, the nation has a power index rating of 2.3606, approximate active military personnel of 15,500 and a defence budget of about $215 million.

18. Niger

Niger Army
The Republic of Niger has 5,500 active military personnel and a $230 million defence budget in 2021. Photo: @DancingMan
Source: Twitter

The Republic of the Niger has a primarily Muslim population of about 23 million and is the second-largest landlocked country in West Africa after Chad. It has an approximate nominal GDP per capita of $550.44. The nation has active military personnel of about 5,500, a defence budget of approximately $230 million and a power index rating of 2.5493 in 2021.

19. Mali

Malian Armed Forces
Photo: @yoh4nn
Source: Getty Images

The Republic of Mali is the eighth-largest country in Africa, with an estimated population of 20 million and a nominal GDP per capita of about $778.53. The nation has approximate active military personnel of 10,000, a defence budget of about $65 million and a power index rating of 2.5558 in 2021.

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20. Botswana

Botswana Defence Force
Botswana is one of the most sparsely populated nations in the world with about 2.4 million people and 9,000 active military personnel in 2021. Photo: @DancingMan
Source: Getty Images

The Republic of Botswana has a population of about 2.4 million people and a nominal GDP per capita of $6,525.51. It is one of the most sparsely populated countries globally, with about 70% of its land area under the Kalahari Desert. As of 2021, the country has active military personnel of about 9,000, a defence budget of approximately $540 million and a power index rating of 2.5679.

Which country in Africa has the strongest army?

Egypt has the strongest army in Africa, considering the size of its armed forces. The country boasts of 304 helicopters, 91 attack helicopters, 11,000 armoured vehicles, 2,200 towed artilleries, and 1,235 rocket projectors.

Which country is the best in Africa?

One of the best countries on the African continent is Morocco. The nation boasts of quiet seaside villages, snowy mountains, and bustling cities. Several delicious Moroccan cuisines will give you the best taste. Also, places like Ait Benhaddou and Djemma al Fna are must-see locations for you.

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Which country is a superpower in Africa?

Nigeria is projected to be the next superpower in Africa. It has the biggest economy in the continent, with a decent record of regional engagements in West Africa. Its challenges, however, are the weakness of its criminal justice system, insecurity, high rates of unemployment, endemic corruption, disgraceful lack of infrastructure, and non-coherence in foreign policy, among others.

What was the most powerful African country ever?

Ancient Africa was dominated by some of the most influential civilizations in the world. States considered the most powerful included the Kingdom of Kush in North Africa and the middle east, Ghana, Mali and Songhai Empires in West Africa.

The above list of the most powerful countries in Africa confirms that nations across the continent need to put extra resources into their military. There is a huge power index difference between the first nation, whose score is 0.2216 and the 20th country that has 2.5679.

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READ ALSO: 10 best countries in Africa where expats can relocate to and why

Briefly.co.za published a list of African nations endowed with opportunities that professionals can explore. These countries are characterized by less stringent immigration rules that make relocation easy.

The countries also have a history of economic and political stability that ensures foreigners thrive in their respective careers. Kindly check the article to discover which African states make the top 10 list.

Source: Briefly News

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