Dr. Akinwumi Adesina Named World Food Prize Laureate 2017
Former minister of Agriculture under the Goodluck Jonathan regime and the current President of the Africa Development Bank (AFDB), Dr Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina has been named as the 2017 World Food Prize Laureate. His responsibilities within the past years with the Rockefeller Foundation, at the Alliance for a Green Revolution Africa (AGRA) and as a minister of Agriculture of Nigeria have been quite remarkable.
As the minister of Agriculture in Nigeria, and currently the President of AFDB, Dr. Akinwumi had demonstrated a rare political disposition in transforming agriculture in Africa through several initiatives aimed at expansion of agricultural production, dismantling of systemic corruption in the Nigerian fertilizer industry and enhancing the accessibilty of credit for small, medium scale farmers across Africa.
Often referred to as the Noble Prize for food and agriculture, the World Food Prize ranks as the highest international honour in recognition of the achievements of those who have championed human development by enhancing the quality, quantity and availability of food world over.
The announcement for the honour was made by the President of the World Food Prize, Ambassador Kenneth Quinn on Monday, June 26, at the event that was held in Washington DC.
The 2017 Award ceremony of the World Food Prize Laureate will be held on October, 19 at the Iowa State Capitol Building in Des Moines.
Adesina will at the ceremony receive the sum of $250, 000 prize and his award. He will deliver his laureate address at the Borlaug Dialogue which will be held a day after the ceremony.
2011, Adesina was appointed Nigeria’s minister of agriculture by the former president of Nigeria, Dr, Goodluck Jonathan. One of the monumental achievements during Adesina’s four-year reign as the minister of agriculture in Nigeria was the ending of the 40 years of fertilizer sector corruption through the development and implementation of of innovative wallet system. This ensured farmers are provided with subsidies at scale with the use of their mobile phones. The lives of 14.5 million farmers were transformed within the first four years of the launch of the e-wallet system. It was also under his leadership of the agricultural sector in Nigeria that the country’s food production capacity exceeded 21 million metric tons.
Consequent upon these remarkable feats, Adesina was elected the president of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) in 2015.
Among other appointments, in 2010, the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon appointed Adesina as one of the leaders to champion the Millenium Developement Goals alongside Bill Gates, the Prime Minister of Spain and the president of Rwanda.
He also was awarded The YARA Prize (2007) for his leadership in pioneering innovative approaches to improve access to agricultural inputs for African farmers and the CAST Communication Award (2010) for his role as a distinguished scientist, leader, and communicator who worked passionately for Africa’s Green Revolution.
Forbes magazine named Adesina African Person of the Year in 2013.
Adesina had also held other notable positions as the Principal economist for West Africa Rice Development Association, Associate Director of Food Security at the Rockefeller Foundation and Vice President, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa.
Adesina, born in Ogun State in Nigeria, received his bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Ife now Obafemi Awolowo University. He was awarded an honourary doctorate from Purdue University in 2015, got his master’s degree in 1985 and doctoral degree in 1988 both in Agricultural economics from same university.