Probably now more than ever before has Nigeria needed all the help it can receive from international institutions. One of these institutions that seems to be coming through for the country is the African Development Bank. Some would say this is not too surprising considering that its current president, Akinwumi Adesina, is a Nigerian. Here, we profile Akinwunmi Adesina.
Akinwumi Adesina was born in Ogun State, Nigeria on 6th February 1960. Adesina had early roots in the agricultural sector as his father was a farmer.
Education and academic qualifications
Akinwumi Adesina went on to read Agricutural Economics at undergraduate level at the Obafemi Awolowo University. He went further to undertake his postgraduate studies at Purdue University where he obtained a PhD in Agricultural Economics in 1988.
His work career began at the West African Rice Development Association (WARDA) in the Ivory Coast, where he worked for 6 years as a senior economist. In addition, courtesy of winning a fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation in 1988, he also worked as a senior economist with the Foundation until 199 when he was appointed as the representative of the Foundation for the southern African area. He held this position until he was promoted to an associate director for food security in 2003. 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 2010, under the Goodluck Jonathan-administration, he was appointed the Minister of Agriculture. He held this post until the exit if the administration in 2015. His efforts were also recognized on a global scale as he was appointed as one of 17 global leaders to spearhead the Millennium Development Goals by the United Nations Secretary-General.
There was to be no time on the sidelines for Adesina, as despite the fact that the Goodluck Jonathan-administration was voted out of office on May 29, 2015, Adesina was elected the presumptive President of the African Development Bank on May 28. 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.
In his position as Vice President (policy and partnerships) of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), he led several bold policy and innovative finance initiatives that leveraged over $4 billion in bank finance commitments towards Africa’s agriculture sector. Adesina was able to successfully lead one of the largest global efforts to leverage domestic bank finance for the agricultural sector with this drive.
During his tenure as Minister of Agriculture, he was responsible for spearheading the reform of a near-comatose agricultural system by introducing more transparency into the fertilizer supply chain and bringing up innovative ideas such as giving farmers mobile phones. As a result, 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.
Adesina, as expected has earned several awards, some of which include 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.
He is married to Grace Adesina and they have two children, Rotimi and Segun.