Kenya’s military has for the second time been ranked as Africa’s eleventh most powerful force ahead of its Ugandan and Tanzanian counterparts, despite the neighbouring countries’ bigger personnel count.
Global Firepower, an agency that assesses the military strength of nations, ranks Kenya as the most powerful nation in East Africa based on its manpower, range of weaponry, logistical flexibility and budgets.
Kenya’s military is, however, ranked below Ethiopia and is also smaller than its East African peers based on personnel headcount.
Kenya has 24,150 military personnel, slightly more than half of Uganda’s 45,000 while Tanzania commands 30,000 servicemen.
“Going beyond military equipment totals and perceived fighting strength, is the actual manpower that drives a given military. Wars of attrition favour those with more,” the study says.
The rankings show that Kenya’s army size has changed little since 2015, retaining the badge as the continent’s eleventh most superior force for the second year.
Despite having a larger pool of personnel, Uganda ranks behind Kenya in military strength at position 16 in Africa while Tanzania comes in 17th.
Kenya has an arms stockpile of 76 battle tanks, 591 armoured fighting vehicles, 30 self-propelled guns, 25 towed artillery, 131 aircraft, 17 fighter jets, and 61 helicopters, according to Global Firepower.
Kenya, which is the region’s largest economy, has over the years led its East African neighbours in military spending.
Kenya’s defence bill last year grew 10.5 per cent to $933 million, shooting above those of Ethiopia and Uganda combined, according to last month’s report by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri).