Akinwumi Adesina is the 8th President of the African Development Bank after assuming office in September 2015. He previously served as Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development. 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). In 2015, he was elected as the President of the African Development Bank. He is the first Nigerian to hold the post.
Adesina was born to a Nigerian farmer in Ibadan, Oyo State. He attended a village school and graduated with a Bachelors in Agricultural Economics with First Class Honors from the University of Ife, Nigeria (1981), where he was the first student to be awarded this distinction by the university. He pursued his studies at Purdue University in Indiana, briefly returning to Nigeria in 1984 to get married. He obtained his PhD (Agricultural Economics) in 1988 from Purdue where he won the Outstanding PhD Thesis for his research work.
From 1990 to 1995, Adesina served as a senior economist at West African Rice Development Association (WARDA) in Bouaké, Ivory Coast. He worked at the Rockefeller Foundation since winning a fellowship from the Foundation as a senior scientist in 1988. From 1999 to 2003 he was the representative of the Foundation for the southern African area. From 2003 until 2008 he was an associate director for food security.
Adesina was the Nigerian Agriculture Minister from 2010 to 2015. Adesina was named Forbes African Man of the Year for his reform of Nigerian agriculture. He introduced more transparency into the fertiliser supply chain. He also said that he would give away mobile phones to farmers but this proved too difficult. One of the reasons was the lack of a mobile network in country areas.
In 2010, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon appointed him as one of 17 global leaders to spearhead the Millennium Development Goals.
On 28 May 2015, Adesina was elected the presumptive President of the African Development Bank. He began his tenure of the office on 1 September 2015.
In September 2016, Adesina was appointed by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to serve as member of the Lead Group of the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement.
In 2017, he was awarded 2017 World Food Prize.
While at Purdue University Adesina and his wife, along with another couple, started a Christian group called the African Student Fellowship. He and his wife Grace have two children, Rotimi and Segun.
In 2013, he was named as Forbes Africa Person of the Year.
In 2018 he was awarded an Honorary Doctor by Afe Babalola University.
On January 28, 2020, he was awarded Honorary Doctor of Science by the Federal University Of Agricture, Abeokuta, Nigeria.
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