Military

These African Nations Have the Strongest Navies

usnavy / Flickr

The importance of Naval power in modern warfare cannot be overstated. It allows for the projection of power over great distance, defensive countermeasures, and overall improved security. As Africa is an intersection of many strategic trade routes around the world, keeping these routes secure with military forces is of paramount importance. Here, 24/7 Wall St. is taking a closer look at the African nations with the strongest naval forces. (These are the strongest militaries in Africa.)

To identify the African countries with the most military ships and submarines, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the 2024 Military Strength Ranking from Global Firepower, an annually updated defense-related statistics website with information on 145 countries. Countries were ranked on the total number of military ships and submarines in their fleet. We included supplemental information regarding submarines, aircraft carriers, destroyers, corvettes, patrol vessels, and frigates, as well as each country’s overall military strength score. We excluded countries that did not have any naval vessels.

Most African naval fleets are primarily comprised of patrol vessels. Much of this is involved in securing local trade routes against foreign powers or pirates. However, not many of these nations are home to the larger ships as seen in the Russian or American navies. Much of Africa’s military priorities tend to be inwardly focused and naval power does not buy as much overall military strength as aircraft or tanks.

Despite this general consensus across the continent, there are a few countries that truly stand out in terms of their naval forces. Egypt, for one, is home to a couple helicopter carriers. These carriers are incredibly valuable assets that are able project power via the attack helicopters they house. Also, Egypt’s incredible naval power is largely due to the fact that it controls the Suez Canal, which is one of the most trafficked routes on the planet. (This African country has the most military manpower, and it’s not even close.)

Here is a look at the African countries with the largest navies:

Why Are We Covering This?

Source: Kichigin / iStock via Getty Images

Understanding the military dynamics of Africa is important due to the continent’s strategic geopolitical significance. The continent is known for some instability, and military power is one way of ensuring stability both political and economical. Many of these African nations are growing rapidly and the continued stability of this region is crucial.

27. Mauritania

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Total naval vessels: 5
  • Frigates and corvettes: 0
  • Submarines: 0
  • Patrol vessels: 3
  • Military strength score: 2.9277 – #131 out of 145

26. Gabon

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Total naval vessels: 5
  • Frigates and corvettes: 0
  • Submarines: 0
  • Patrol vessels: 4
  • Military strength score: 2.9517 – #132 out of 145

25. Republic of the Congo

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Total naval vessels: 6
  • Frigates and corvettes: 0
  • Submarines: 0
  • Patrol vessels: 6
  • Military strength score: 2.7282 – #122 out of 145

24. Liberia

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Total naval vessels: 6
  • Frigates and corvettes: 0
  • Submarines: 0
  • Patrol vessels: 6
  • Military strength score: 3.7262 – #140 out of 145

23. Libya

Source: Jonathan / Wikimedia Commons
  • Total naval vessels: 7
  • Frigates: 1
  • Corvettes: 1
  • Submarines: 0
  • Patrol vessels: 1
  • Mine warfare: 2
  • Military strength score: 1.4449 – #79 out of 145

22. Ivory Coast

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Total naval vessels: 7
  • Frigates and corvettes: 0
  • Submarines: 0
  • Patrol vessels: 6
  • Military strength score: 1.9869 – #98 out of 145

21. Benin

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Total naval vessels: 7
  • Frigates and corvettes: 0
  • Submarines: 0
  • Patrol vessels: 7
  • Military strength score: 3.8912 – #141 out of 145

20. Mozambique

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Total naval vessels: 8
  • Frigates and corvettes: 0
  • Submarines: 0
  • Patrol vessels: 8
  • Military strength score: 1.8377 – #92 out of 145

19. Namibia

Source: ViceAdmiral / Wikimedia Commons
  • Total naval vessels: 8
  • Corvettes: 2
  • Submarines: 0
  • Patrol vessels: 5
  • Military strength score: 2.7652 – #124 out of 145

18. Madagascar

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Total naval vessels: 9
  • Frigates and corvettes: 0
  • Submarines: 0
  • Patrol vessels: 9
  • Military strength score: 3.0655 – #133 out of 145

17. Senegal

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Total naval vessels: 10
  • Frigates and corvettes: 0
  • Submarines: 0
  • Patrol vessels: 10
  • Military strength score: 2.9117 – #130 out of 145

16. Sierra Leone

Source: mtcurado / iStock via Getty Images
  • Total naval vessels: 10
  • Frigates and corvettes: 0
  • Submarines: 0
  • Patrol vessels: 7
  • Military strength score: 3.5433 – #138 out of 145

15. Somalia

Source: usnavy / Flickr
  • Total naval vessels: 11
  • Frigates and corvettes: 0
  • Submarines: 0
  • Patrol vessels: 11
  • Military strength score: 3.9006 – #142 out of 145

14. Sudan

Source: Historical Empires / Wikimedia Commons
  • Total naval vessels: 12
  • Frigates and corvettes: 0
  • Submarines: 0
  • Patrol vessels: 10
  • Military strength score: 1.4119 – #76 out of 145

13. Tanzania

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Total naval vessels: 12
  • Frigates and corvettes: 0
  • Submarines: 0
  • Patrol vessels: 10
  • Military strength score: 2.0587 – #103 out of 145

12. Democratic Republic of Congo

Source: MONUSCO Photos / Wikimedia Commons
  • Total naval vessels: 16
  • Frigates and corvettes: 0
  • Submarines: 0
  • Patrol vessels: 16
  • Military strength score: 1.2491 – #73 out of 145

11. Kenya

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Total naval vessels: 19
  • Frigates and corvettes: 0
  • Submarines: 0
  • Patrol vessels: 7
  • Military strength score: 1.7629 – #89 out of 145

10. Eritrea

Source: Solomon Debre / Wikimedia Commons
  • Total naval vessels: 23
  • Frigates and corvettes: 0
  • Submarines: 0
  • Patrol vessels: 18
  • Military strength score: 2.4152 – #117 out of 145

9. Ghana

  • Total naval vessels: 27
  • Frigates and corvettes: 0
  • Submarines: 0
  • Patrol vessels: 27
  • Military strength score: 2.2358 – #113 out of 145

8. Angola

  • Total naval vessels: 40
  • Frigates and corvettes: 0
  • Submarines: 0
  • Patrol vessels: 38
  • Mine warfare: 2
  • Military strength score: 0.8702 – #55 out of 145

7. South Africa

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Total naval vessels: 47
  • Frigates: 4
  • Submarines: 3
  • Patrol vessels: 31
  • Mine warfare: 2
  • Military strength score: 0.4632 – #33 out of 145

6. Tunisia

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Total naval vessels: 52
  • Frigates and corvettes: 0
  • Submarines: 0
  • Patrol vessels: 36
  • Military strength score: 1.2881 – #74 out of 145

5. Cameroon

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Total naval vessels: 65
  • Frigates and corvettes: 0
  • Submarines: 0
  • Patrol vessels: 37
  • Military strength score: 2.0599 – #104 out of 145

4. Morocco

Source: cne-cna-c6f / Flickr / Public Domain
  • Total naval vessels: 121
  • Frigates: 6
  • Corvettes: 1
  • Submarines: 0
  • Patrol vessels: 22
  • Military strength score: 1.0081 – #61 out of 145

3. Nigeria

  • Total naval vessels: 133
  • Frigates: 1
  • Submarines: 0
  • Patrol vessels: 109
  • Mine warfare: 2
  • Military strength score: 0.5619 – #39 out of 145

2. Egypt

Source: usnavy / Flickr
  • Total naval vessels: 140
  • Frigates: 13
  • Corvettes: 7
  • Submarines: 8
  • Patrol vessels: 42
  • Mine warfare: 23
  • Helicopter carriers: 2
  • Military strength score: 0.2283 – #15 out of 145

1. Algeria

Source: Courtesy of Algerian Naval Force via Facebook
  • Total naval vessels: 213
  • Frigates: 8
  • Corvettes: 16
  • Submarines: 6
  • Patrol vessels: 75
  • Mine warfare: 3
  • Military strength score: 0.3589 – #26 out of 145

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us?
Contact the 24/7 Wall St. editorial team.