Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, the president of African Development Bank (AfDB), has been named the 2017 World Food Prize Laureate.
Adesina, whose name was selected on Monday in Washington DC, becomes the 46th recipient and the sixth African to be so honoured. The award ceremony would take place on October 19.
Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina is the 8th elected President of the African Development Bank Group. He was elected to the position on May 28, 2015 by the Bank’s Board of Governors at its Annual Meetings in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.
He took office at the Bank’s headquarters in Abidjan on September 1, 2015 and will serve an initial five-year term.
Adesina, 57, is a distinguished development economist and agricultural development expert with 25 years of international experience. He is the first Nigerian to serve as President of the Bank Group.
Adesina served as Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development from 2011 to 2015, during which time he implemented bold policy reforms in the fertilizer sector and pursued innovative agricultural investment programs to expand opportunities for the private sector.
He was previously Vice-President (Policy and Partnerships) of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). He was also Associate Director (Food Security) at the Rockefeller Foundation in New York, where he worked for a decade (1998-2008) in senior leadership positions, including as Regional Office Director and Representative for Southern Africa.
Adesina was Principal Economist and Social Science Research Coordinator for the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Principal Economist and Coordinator of the West Africa Rice Economics Task Force at the West Africa Rice Development Association (WARDA) and an Assistant Principal Economist at the International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT). From 2008 to 2010, Adesina was the President of the African Association of Agricultural Economists.
Adesina has received a number of global awards for his leadership and work in agriculture. In 2010, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon appointed him as one of 17 global leaders to spearhead the Millennium Development Goals, 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.
Adesina earned a first-class honours Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Ife, Nigeria in 1981. In 1988 he completed a PhD in Agricultural Economics at Purdue University in the United States, where he won the Outstanding PhD Thesis Award for his research work. He also won the prestigious Rockefeller Foundation Social Science Post-Doctoral Fellowship in 1988, which launched his international career in global agricultural development.
Born on February 6, 1960, Adesina speaks fluent French and English.