Ethiopia was elected to the Council with 185 out of 190 votes cast. The council has the primary responsibility for international peace and security. They replaced Angola, the last African representative on the Council.
News of their election at the time came as no surprise because the Horn of Africa nation ran unopposed by any other African country, after Kenya and the Seychelles withdrew from the contest in January 2016.
The UN Security Council has five permanent members – US, UK, Russia, China and France – and 10 non-permanent members. Ethiopia is joined by Bolivia, Italy, Kazakstan and Sweden.
Their role was assessed by a security experts as crucial to the continent. Speaking to Africanews, the Head of African Futures and Innovation at the Institute for Security Studies Jakkie Cilliers said,
“Ethiopia is an important player in terms of peace and security on the African continent.
‘‘It has been for a number of years the largest troops contributor on peacekeeping in Africa. It hosts the African Union and in the horn of Africa, it is extremely significant in Somalia, in Sudan and elsewhere. So I think that this reflects in a sense Ethiopia’s status as a, emerging peace and security power in Africa,” Cilliers added.
Ethiopia despite suffering from protests as a result of anti-government sentiments in two main regions – Oromo and Amhara, has been a strong force in mediating in the South Sudan political crisis and in neighbouring Somalia.
They are also in the forefront of the regional peace and security group, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). The country is currently under a 6-month state of emergency aimed at quelling the protests.