Akinwumi Adesina Becomes President Of African Development Bank

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Akinwumi Adesina Becomes President Of African Development Bank

Nigeria’s former agriculture minister Akinwumi Adesina has risen from humble origins to become the head of the African Development Bank (AfDB) at a time of economic transformation on the continent.

faceOn May 28, 2015, he was elected to become the next President of the African Development Bank.

Akinwumi Adesina fomer agric minister 2

He will begin his tenure of the office on September 1, 2015. He will become the eight president in the organization’s history, and the first Nigerian to hold the post.

I am not surprised at his appointment as he stood tall in the the Jonathan led administration in which he was a cabinet member. I remember doing a post on Facebook about a week ago and mentioned him in the post.

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“He is the son of a poor farmer earning 10 US cents per day in Ogun state, southwest Nigeria, 55-year-old Adesina gradually climbed the social ladder, according to friends.

He earned a first-class honours degree in agricultural economics from the southwestern University of Ife and a doctorate in the same subject at Purdue in the US midwest in 1988.

Before becoming a minister in 2011, he worked for the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa and held senior positions in agricultural bodies around the world.

In 2013, Adesina was named African Person of the Year by Forbes magazine for his agricultural reforms. “He is a man on a mission to help Africa feed itself,” the publication said.

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“My goal is to make as many millionaires, maybe even billionaires, from agriculture as possible,” he said while accepting the Forbes award.

Nigeria is Africa’s most populous nation and biggest economy, and a leading shareholder in the AfDB.

The appointment of Adesina, after months of intensive lobbying across the continent, breaks the unwritten rule that the top job should go to someone from a small to medium-sized country.

The new president of the African Development Bank Akinwumi Adesina (L) shakes hands with Ivorian min 
– ‘Finish off the white elephants’ –

The new chief told AFP in late March that he wanted to “finish off the white elephants”, in a reference to useless luxury projects that are often financed using international aid and built by foreign businessmen, and which reek of corruption.

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He also urged more cooperation across borders, pitching ideas such as an “African Google”, a transnational electricity market, and a regional stock exchange.

Nigeria, Africa’s biggest oil producer, has long been urged to reduce its reliance on crude by diversifying its economy, including in agriculture, which supports more people.

Official data indicated food imports fell from 1 trillion naira ($5 billion, 4.6 billion euros) to 466 billion naira in the last three years on Adesina’s watch.

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Admirers say transparency has improved in the administration and distribution of fertilisers, which had long been riddled with inefficiency and corruption.

Adesina said last year his aim was “to cut out all the crap within the system” to forge policies that allowed private investors to make money from agriculture in the same way as energy.

Akinwumi Adesina fomer agric minister 1

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon described Adesina as an “eminent personality” who had shown outstanding leadership in his role since 2009 in the UN Millennium Development Goals Advocacy Group.

Congratulations to our very own, we are proud of you. Keep making Nigeria and Africa proud.

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2 comments

  1. Alex Awiti · June 7, 2015 Alex

    What can the AfDB really do over the next 10 years under the stewardship of President Adesina? With limited financial resources, the AfDB could play a leadership role, re-defining development priorities of regional member countries through high quality research evidence. AfDB can forge strategic partmeships with larger movers of Official Development Assistance and Foreign Direct Investment to drive more integrated and diversified investments to deepen and broaden AfricaÔÇÖs growth.
    AfDB under the leadership of Adesina should direct its infrastructure investments more strategically to revitalize and transform AfricaÔÇÖs agriculture through appropriate mechanization, create new rural prosperity zones and bring women and youth into lucrative value chains (technology, processing, packaging, logistics, warehousing, insurance). Adesina should direct more investments into vocational and university education to provide world class skills and drive enterprice and innovation to power and stamp AfricaÔÇÖs claim on the 21st century.
    Adesina must revamp the AfDBÔÇÖs strategy, invest in AfricaÔÇÖs distinct comparative advantage, its youth, women and its vast but untapped agricultural resources to build a stronger and more prosperous Africa.

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