PoliticsNews & AnalysisWho are the exemplary armies in Africa?


Posted on Thursday, 20 December 2012 18:09

Who are the exemplary armies in Africa?

South African army remains a continental force to reckon with/Photo©Reuters

Structural problems within certain sub-Saharan African armies have not obscured the overall quality, or progress in the past 10 years, for a few countries. 


After successfully contributing to the country's transition from apartheid to a democracy, the South African army remains a continental force to reckon with, especially in the areas of aviation and transport.

The South African army counts about 1,000 men serving in the rank and file of the United Nations Organisation for Stabilisation of Congo (MONUSCO). 

Kenya is another highly rated African army. Its troops train regularly with their British and American counterparts. 

The result, as evidenced by the remarkable discipline of Kenyan soldiers whose offensive against al-Shebab by virtue of their collaboration with the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), is one of success. 

And in spite of its somewhat aging technology, Kenya's army remains fully operational. 

Their efficiency has seen them participating in several deployments beyond their borders with large contingents in Somalia and South Sudan as well as acting as observers in DR Congo.

In Uganda, Kenyan soldiers have served as instructors.

And even though Uganda has suffered some heavy losses in Somalia, its 5000-strong force in the Horn of Africa country has demonstrated a level of military efficiency. 

Uganda is modernising its military arsenal with a good possibility of the US transferring intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance equipment to the east African country.

After accusations by the UN of supporting rebels in DR Congo M23, the powers that be in Kampala have threatened to withdraw from Somalia.

Should this occur, Ethiopia may have to send tens of thousands of men to Somalia. 

Ethiopia's military is already familiar with the harsh Somali territory.

The neighbouring Horn of Africa country has in the past defeated and sent al-Shebab packing. 

Also accused of supporting the M23 rebel group by the UN, Rwanda's army is quite efficient. It is known for its impressive light infantry operations and anti-guerrilla warfare.

The UN itself recognises their skills, especially in the area of civil-military operations, after their deployment in Darfur.

Other countries that fall within this category of good African armies include Ghana and Tanzania, who are involved in numerous UN peacekeeping operations.

As the current crisis in northern Mali rages on, military experts have suggested that Chad and Mauritania, with their specialised units, are the  only countries in the sub-region (like Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia in east Africa) that can really dent the progress the jihadists have so far made.

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