List of African countries with highest defence spending budgets

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  • As of July 2022, nine African countries allocated over US$1 billion dollars each to their defence departments
  • Data by Statista indicated that Algeria tops the list of African countries with the highest defence budgets in the continent
  • Algeria is followed by Nigeria, Morocco, Egypt, Libya and South Africa in that order
  • Overall, the list is dominated by countries in North Africa faced with internal and external aggressions
Amid increasing cases of terrorism and conflicts between member states, African countries have been allocating more money to defence to protect their citizens and businesses.
As of July 2022, nine African countries allocated over US$1 billion dollars each to their defence departments, according to Statista, a German company specialising in market and consumer data.
Data by Statista indicated that Algeria tops the list of African countries with the highest defence budgets in the continent followed by Nigeria, Morocco, Egypt, Libya and South Africa in that order. Overall, the list is dominated by countries in North Africa faced with internal and external aggressions.

1. Algeria

The Algerian military conduct a drill near Libya. (Photo/AA.)
Algeria’s defence budget stood at US$9.7 billion in 2022. The North African country is ranked 23rd in the world in military power spending. Algeria devotes seven per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to its defence department, the highest in the continent. In terms of military spending per capita, it’s listed second behind Botswana at US$221. The funds are spent on national security, with a huge chunk concentrated in the People’s National Armed Forces. With its huge spending power, Algeria has the second most powerful army in Africa behind Egypt.

2. Nigeria

Nigeria, the most populous in Africa, has the second highest spending budget in Africa at US$5.8 billion.
The West African country has been facing Boko Haram threats. Boko Haram is linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and has been terrorising residents in the Northeastern region. Between 2016 and 2021, Nigeria spent over $19.9 billion on security. Recurrent expenditure takes a big share of the budget, with 86.8 per cent channelled towards salaries and allowances in 2021, according to Dataphyte.

3. Morocco

Morocco is a country in North Africa. Its military expenditure budget stands at US$5.4 billion representing 4 per cent of its GDP. The budget is the third highest in the continent. Moroccan Defence Minister Abdelatif Loudiyi described the budget as “moderate and realistic”. Since 2011, the country has increased its military budget by over 50 per cent.
The country imports 90% of its arms from the United States (US), followed by France (9.2%) and the United Kingdom (0.3%). In terms of military power, it is ranked 55th globally. As reported by Atalayar, its military boasts 3,335 battle tanks, 144 rocket launchers, 3,500 armoured vehicles, 517 self-propelled artillery units, and 211 towed artillery pieces.

4. Egypt

Egypt has the strongest military in Africa. (Photo/AL-Monitor).
Egypt has the most powerful military in Africa and 13th globally, with a strong force of over 920,000.
The ranking is based on its diversity of weapons, manpower and logistical capacity. Its budget in 2022 is US$4.4 billion. According to Global Fire Power (GFP) which rates countries’ military strength, Egypt has a power index of 0.2216. (0.0000 is considered the strongest/perfect).

5. Libya

Libya has been unstable since its strong leader Muammar Gaddafi was assassinated in Sirte on October 20, 2011, by North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) backed Arab spring. The North African country has grappled with civil war for over a decade, with two factions fighting for power. Libya’s spending budget in 2022 was estimated at US$3.5 billion.

6. South Africa

South Africa is the second richest country in Africa. The country’s GDP will cross the US$345 billion mark by the end of 2022. The country’s defence budget is US$2.9 billion, allocated to over 80,000 military personnel and weapons. Global Fire Power ranks its military as the 26th most powerful in the world out of 142 surveyed.

7. Kenya

Outgoing Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta inspects a guard of honour. (Photo/Kenya Defence Forces).
Kenya’s defence budget has often been shrouded in secrecy. In the 2022/2023 financial year budget read by Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani, the security sector was allocated Sh317.8 billion. The police, Defence, and National Intelligence Service (NIS) will share the funds. In this, Defence got Sh 128.4 billion (USS$ 1.18 billion), NIS (Sh46.3 billion), and police and prisons (Sh122.2 billion).

8. Tunisia

Tunisia has one of the strongest militaries in Africa, with a power index of 1.3664. Its spending budget during the period under review stands at USS$1.17 billion. In its annual 2022 review, GFP ranked Tunisia 74th out of 142 countries.

9. Angola

Angola is one of the richest countries in Africa, with its GDP expected to reach US$ 74 billion by the end of 2022.
Due to its big spending, it’s ranked the ninth country in Africa with the highest spending on defence. Its military is ranked 66th out of 142 countries in the GFP review. It holds a power index of 1.0391.
10. Uganda
Kenya’s neighbour to West Uganda increased its defence budget in 2022 due to the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). While tabling the 2022-2023 financial year budget in parliament on Tuesday, June 14, Ugandan Finance minister Matia Kasaija said the government had allocated US$1.02 billion to security.
“Peace, security and stability, as well as rule of law, must remain key government priorities,” Kasaija explained.

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