Dr. Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina is the president of the African Development Bank since 2015. Until he was appointed Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development in 2010, he was the Vice President of Policy and Partnerships for the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). He was named Forbes Africa Person of the Year in 2013 for his “bold reforms” in the farming sector.

On May 28th, 2015, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina made history when he was elected as the 8th President of Africa Development bank thus becoming the first Nigerian to occupy that exalted position since the establishment of the Bank in 1964.

Akinwumi was born in February 1960 to a Nigerian farmer in Ibadan, Oyo State. He earned a first-class honours Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Ife, Nigeria in 1981. In 1988 he completed a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics at Purdue University in the United States, where he won the Outstanding Ph.D. 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.

He also Speaks Impeccable French

  • 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.

Career Highlights:

  • 1990 – 1995: Senior economist at West African Rice Development Association (WARDA) in Bouaké, Ivory Coast
  • 1999 – 2003 : Representative of the Rockefeller Foundation for the southern African area.
  • In 2010, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon appointed him as one of 17 global leaders to spearhead the Millennium Development Goals.
  • Named 2013 Forbes African Man of the Year 
  • In 2017, he was awarded 2017 World Food Prize
  • In October 2017, Purdue University, USA decorated Dr Akinwumi Adesina with its highest honour, the Order of the Griffin, recognizing his vision to boost up agricultural economy in Africa, a rare honour given only to 50 persons since 1893, including to Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon.

2017 World Food Prize Laureate

The World Food Prize, often referred to as the Nobel Prize for food and agriculture, is the highest international honor recognizing the achievements of those who have advanced human development by improving quality, quantity and availability of food in the world.

Adesina’s World Food Prize is given in recognition for his work with the Rockefeller Foundation, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), and as Minister of Agriculture of Nigeria. For the past 20 years, he has dedicated his career to improving the agricultural sector in Africa, having led initiatives to expand agricultural production, end corruption in the Nigerian fertilizer industry, and increase the availability of credit for smallholder farmers across the African continent.

 2019 Sunhak Peace Prize Honouree

The Sunhak Committee acknowledges Dr. Akinwumi Adesina’s achievements in improving Africa’s economy by promoting Good Governance and in leading agricultural innovation for over 30 years. His achievements contributed greatly to food security in Africa, aimed at improving the lives of millions currently living in poverty in Africa.

At the Award Ceremony, each laureate received a prize of $500,000, along with a medal and a plaque, presented by the founder, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, and Committee Chair Dr. Il Sik Hong. The Sunhak Peace Prize honors individuals and organizations who have made significant contributions to the peace and the human development of future generations. The Sunhak Peace Prize includes a cash prize totaling one million dollars.

Personal Life

  • 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.

Dr. Akinwumi Adesina is a very inspiring Nigerian with a contagious smile, impeccable dress sense plus bow tie, Thank you for being a light to our generation and for being a source of inspiration.

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