Dr Akinwumi Adesina, born 6th February, 1960, is the current president of the African Development Bank, AfDB, and the first Nigeria to occupy this position. Between 2011 and 2015, he served as Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture, and with over 25 years of international experience, Akinwumi Adesina is a well-known to be a distinguished development economist and agricultural development expert. Until his appointment as minister in 2010, he was Vice President of Policy and Partnerships for the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), and according to Bloomberg, Dr. Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina serves as Chairman of the Board at Africa50 Infrastructure Fund, a Member of Advisory Board at Releaf and as a Chairperson & President at African Development Bank. Adesina was also a Principal Economist and Social Science Research Coordinator for the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).
Early Life & Education
Dr Akinwumi Adesina had early roots in agriculture, as both his father and grandfather were farmers. He graduated from a village school and went on to study Agricultural economics in the University of Ife (1981), where he graduated with first class honours. He was the first ever student to be awarded this distinction by the university, and went went further to undertake his postgraduate studies at Purdue University in Indiana, where he obtained a PhD in Agricultural Economics in 1988 and won an outstanding PhD Thesis Award for his research work. He also won the prestigious Rockefeller Foundation Social Science Post-Doctoral Fellowship in 1988, which pivoted his international career in global agricultural development.
From 1990 to 1995, Adesina worked as a senior economist at West African Rice Development Association (WARDA) in Bouaké, Ivory Coast, where in addition to the Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship he won in 1988, he served as a senior scientist till 1999, when he became the representative of the Foundation for the southern African area till 2003. From 2003 until 2008 he was an associate director for food security.
He was appointed the Minister of Agriculture in 2010, under former president, Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, and held the post until the exit of the administration in 2015, during which he implemented bold policy reforms in the fertilizer sector and pursued innovative agricultural investment programs to expand opportunities for the private sector. Through his hardwork, Nigeria ended 40 years of corruption in the fertilizer sector by developing and implementing an innovative electronic wallet system, which directly provides farmers with subsidized farm inputs at scale using their mobile phones. This electronic wallet system reached 14.5 million farmers within the first years of its implementation. Adesina was also able to successfully attract $5.6 billion in private sector investment commitments as he changed the view of Nigerian farmers from subsistence farming to commercial farming. (Nairametrics)
His efforts in agriculture have been immeasurable and greatly recognized across the globe, as he was appointed as one of 17 global leaders to spearhead the Millennium Development Goals by the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon in 2010, along with Bill Gates, the Spanish Prime Minister and the President of Rwanda. He was named Person of the Year by Forbes Africa magazine in 2013.
Akinwumi Adesina was elected the presumptive President of the African Development Bank on May 28, 2015. He began his tenure on September 1 and has continued influencing Nigerian economy, especially during the economic recession. He launched a strategy based on energy, agriculture, industrialization, regional integration and bettering Africans’ lives, a move approved by the Board of Directors.
Awards Earned by Akinwumi Adesina
He has earned several awards and recognitions, both locally and in the international space, amongst which are; the 2017 World Food Prize, 2015 Extraordinary Achievement Award by Silverbird Television, 2013 Forbes African Person of the Year and the 2007 YARA Prize for the African Green Revolution in Oslo.
Akinwumi Adesina is married to Grace Akinwumi (m 1984), and is blessed with two children, Segun and Rotimi.
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