Akinwumi Adesina is the 8th elected President of the African Development Bank Group and the first Nigerian to attain the position. He is a seasoned development economist, a writer, and an agricultural development expert with 25years of international experience.
Mr Adesina was once the minister of agriculture and rural development in Nigeria. Before he became minister, he was the vice president (policy and partnerships) of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).
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Akinwumi Adesina Background.
Akinwumi Adesina was born on the 6th of February 1960, to a farmer in Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria. His primary and secondary education was in Ibadan, after which he went for his BSc. in agricultural economics at the University of Ife, Nigeria. He graduated in 1981 with first class honours, and thereafter went for his masters and PhD studies at Purdue University, U.S.A in the year 1985 and 1988 respectively. Dr Adesina speaks English and French fluently. He is married to Grace Adesina, and they are blessed with two children.
Akinwumi Adesina Career.
After his PhD studies, he went to work with ‘The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics’ as the Assistant Principal Economist from 1988 – 1990. On leaving the institute, he assumed the position of Principal Economist for the ‘West Africa Rice Development Association (WARDA)’ in Bouake, Ivory Coast. He worked there from 1990 – 1995. He left in 1995 to the ‘The International Institute for Tropical Agriculture’ where he worked as the Senior Economist and Social Science Coordinator till 1998.
Not many know Dr Adesina is a copious writer. He has written over 70 scholarly publications on policy, agricultural development, and African developmental issues. Dr Adesina has worked and lived in 15 African countries across the Eastern, Western and Southern parts of Africa. During his stay in Côte d’Ivoire, he supervised 10 Doctoral theses in agricultural and development economics at the ‘University of Abidjan, Centre Ivoirien de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (CIRES)’.
He is the Governor and Board member of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). As the governor of IFAD, he consults for various global development institutions. Some of these institutions are the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the International Finance Corporation, the World Economic Forum and the Africa Union.
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He served as Associate Director and Regional Director of the Rockefeller Foundation in South Africa. While at the foundation, he carried out various projects that benefited African farmers. Some of these projects are; the development of programs that brought about market opportunities for African farmers, provision of funds for business owners in Africa, as well as improved access to education.
Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).
Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina joined AGRA in 2008 as the Vice President – Policy and Partnerships. During his tenure, he executed bold policies and innovative financial initiatives that leveraged over $4 billion in bank financial commitments towards the Agricultural sector. He worked with various Heads of State, Finance Ministers, leaders of commercial banks, and central bank governors of several African countries.
Akinwumi Adesina as Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Akinwumi Adesina succeeded Abba Sayyadi Ruma as the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development in 2010. As minister of Agriculture, he reformed the sector within four years. Firstly, he developed and implemented an electronic wallet system, that provides farmers, with subsidized farm inputs. This simple innovation marked the end of the long years of corruption in the fertilizer supply chain.
Within his 4yrs in office, 14.5 million farmers enjoyed the benefits of using the electronic wallet system.
Akinwumi has transformed agriculture in Nigeria, from subsistence farming to a profitable business venture. He convinced the private sector to invest $5.6 billion in the agricultural sector.
He led the initiative to provide financial support to youth’s that are involved in agricultural activities as well as small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Finally, food production in Nigeria increased by 21 million tonnes, during his 4years as minister. This is 1 million tonnes more than the target he set at the beginning of his tenure in office.
African Development Bank Group.
Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina is currently the President of the African Development Bank. He was elected into office on the 28th of May, 2015, as the successor to Donald Kaberuka of Rwanda. He resumed official duties as the President on the 1st of September, 2015 in Abidjan.
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Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina Quotes.
“Like the hidden potential of rough diamonds, we must work to fully unlock Africa’s potential. Africa must sparkle.”
“We are determined that the future Bill Gates and Steve Jobs will not only come out of Silicon Valley but out of Africa.”
“…And in the case of Nigeria, I will live a Nigerian, die a Nigerian and during the resurrection, opt to come out as a Nigerian as well as with the green-white-green flag in my hand.”
“There are various business opportunities in the value chain of agriculture including processing, marketing. logistics, transportation and food retail. These represent big business opportunities for Africa’s youth”
“We pass gold and see gold as dirt. And we look at agriculture like that when in fact it is the biggest business in the world. So for me, I really want young people to be in agriculture as a business.”
“Corruption does not invest in the future; it kills the future.”
“There cannot be peace in a world that is hungry. Let’s end the indignity of hunger in our world, for God wants it so.”
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Boards Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina has served.
- President of the African Association of Agricultural Economists.
- Editorial Board of the International Journal of Agricultural Economists.
- The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon appointed him as one of 17 global leaders to ensure the success of the Millennium Development Goals.
- Adewumi serves on the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition.
- Governor and Board member of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in Nigeria.
- He served on the technical board of the forum for African Women Educationalists.
Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina’s Honours.
- 2012 – Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
- 2015 – Grand Officer of the National Order of the Lion of Senegal
- 2017 – Grand Officer of the Order of the Valour of the Cameroun
- 2017 – Grand Officer of the National Order of Merit of Niger
- 2018 – Grand Officer of the Order of Mono of Togo
- 2018 – Grand Cordon of the Order of the Star of Africa of Liberia
- 2019 – Grand Officer of the National Order of Merit of Tunisia
Awards and Recognitions of Akinwumi Adesina.
- Outstanding Black Agricultural Economist award by the America Association of Agricultural Economists.
- Distinguished Africanist Scholar at Cornell University, USA.
- Outstanding Thesis Award from Purdue University during his PhD in 1988.
- Yara Prize in Oslo, Norway for improving farmers access to inputs in July 2007.
- Distinguished Alumni Award from Purdue University, USA in 2008.
- Obafemi Awolowo University honoured him with a ‘Distinguished Alumni Award’ in 2009.
- Borlaug CAST Award by the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology, USA in 2010.
- Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Franklin and Marshall College, USA in 2010.
- ‘Grand Commander of Great Ife’ in 2013.
- Forbes Africa Person of the Year award in 2013.
- Leadership Newspaper selected him as Public Servant of the Year in 2013.
- Extraordinary Achievement Award by Silverbird Television, Nigeria on the 5th of May 2015.
- Winner of the World Food Prize, $250,000 on the 26th of June, 2017.
- Honorary Doctorate by Afe Babalola University in 2018.
- University of Alberta, Canada awarded him an ‘Honorary Doctorate of Science’ on the 4th of June, 2019.
Photo credit: worldfoodprice.org, thetimesofafrica.com, thetrentonline.com