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Akin Adesina Biography & Profile

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Akinwumi “Akin” Adesina (Born on February 6, 1960), is the current President of the African Development Bank, and the first Nigerian to ever hold the post. He is the 8th elected President of the African Development Bank Group. He was elected to the position on May 28, 2015, by the Bank’s Board of Governors at its Annual Meetings in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. 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).

Akin Adesina Full Biography

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 Ph.D. (Agricultural Economics) in 1988 from Purdue where he won the Outstanding PhD Thesis for his research work.

Akin Adesina

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. During this time the Permanent Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development was Ibukun Odusote. Adesina was named as Forbes African Man of the Year for his reform of Nigerian agriculture. He introduced more transparency into the fertilizer 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. He is the eighth president in the organization’s history, and the first Nigerian to hold the post.

He launched a strategy based on energy, agriculture, industrialization, regional integration and bettering Africans’ lives. The Board of Executive Directors approved the reorganization of the structure around these five priorities.

In September 2016, Adesina was appointed by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to serve as a member of the Lead Group of the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement.

In 2017, he was awarded 2017 World Food Prize. Upon receiving the prize on October 21, 2017. Adesina donated the $250,000 he received to the development of African youth in agriculture.

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.

Awards & Recognition

  • In July 2007, he was awarded the YARA Prize for the African Green Revolution in Oslo.
  • In 2008, Purdue University’s College of Agriculture gave him their Distinguished Agricultural Alumni Award.
  • In 2010 he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters by Franklin and Marshall College
  • In 2013, he was named as Forbes Africa Person of the Year.
  • On May 5, 2015, he was awarded an Extraordinary Achievement Award by Silverbird Television, Nigeria.
  • On June 26, 2017, he was named the winner of the World Food Prize.
  • In 2018 he was awarded an Honorary Doctor by Afe Babalola University.
  • On June 4, 2019, he was awarded an Honourary Doctor of Science Degree by the University of Alberta, Canada
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