Hello Nigerians, we are excited to know that you are there! Welcome to this week’s edition of the Rebrand Nigeria Champions Series!

Our searchlight this week is on Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, the 8th elected President of the African Development Bank Group and the first Nigerian to serve as President of the Bank. He was elected to that position on May 28, 2015 by the Bank’s Board of Governors at its Annual Meetings in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire and he resumed office on September 1, 2015.

Our Nigerian Champion for the week, Dr Akinwumi was born in Ogun State, Nigeria on the 6th of February, 1960 and had an early exposure to the agricultural sector as his father was a farmer.

He graduated with a Bachelors’ degree in Agricultural Economics (First Class Honors) from the University of Ife, Nigeria in 1981. He holds a Masters (1985) and a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics (1988) from Purdue University, USA, where he won the outstanding thesis award for that year.

Dr. Adesina, is a distinguished development economist and agricultural development expert with 30 years of international experience

As the President of the African Development Bank, he has been able to position the bank globally and has implemented a number of highly impact-making programs that are accelerating development in the continent.

Within the first four years of his leadership of the Bank:

a)18 million people connected to electricity through the “Light Up and Power Africa”,
b)141 million people have gained access to improved agricultural technologies under the “Feed Africa” project,

c)13 million people have benefited from the private sector investment projects under the “Industrialize Africa”,

d)101 million people have gained access to better transport services through “Integrate Africa”,

e)60 million people benefited from improved access to water and sanitation under the “Improve the Quality of Life of the People of Africa” project.

In 2018, the “Publish What You Fund”, global campaign for aid and development transparency initiated by the bank ranked AfDB as the 4th Most Transparent Institution among 45 global development institutions. That same year, the bank recorded an unprecedented first, when it was ranked number one by the Multilateral Organization Performance Assessment Network (MOPAN), a position jointly shared with the World Bank.

Recall that Dr Adesina served as Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development from 2011 to 2015, during which time he implemented bold policy reforms in the fertilizer sector and pursued innovative agricultural investment programs to expand opportunities for the private sector.

As a bold reformer and as Minister, he turned the Nigerian agricultural sector around within four years. Under his tenure, Nigeria ended 40 years of corruption in the fertilizer sector by developing and implementing an innovative electronic wallet system, which directly provided farmers with subsidized farm inputs at scale using their mobile phones. Within the first four years of its launch, this electronic wallet system reached 14.5 million farmers, dramatically transforming their lives as well as increasing food security across the country.

As a firm believer in private sector led growth, Dr Adesina changed the perception of agriculture in Nigeria from that of subsistence farming to viable business ventures, which successfully attracted over $5.6 billion in private sector investments. He also introduced a number of financing initiatives that supported youth involvements in agriculture and other SMEs.

Ultimately, under his leadership, Nigeria’s food production expanded by 21 million metric tonnes, surpassing the 20 million metric tonnes target set out at the start of his tenure.

Prior to his appointment as the Minister of Agriculture, he was the Vice President (Policy and Partnerships) of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) where he introduced several policies and innovative financial initiatives that leveraged over $4 billion in bank finance commitments towards Africa’s agricultural sector.

Working with Heads of State and Finance Ministers, leaders of commercial banks and Central Bank Governors across several African countries, Dr. Adesina successfully led one of the largest global efforts to leverage domestic bank financing for the agricultural sector.

As a consummate and highly effective builder of strategic partnerships, Dr. Adesina has worked effectively across several sectors of the economy to lift millions of people out of poverty.

Before joining AGRA in 2008, he was the Associate Director and Regional Director for the Southern African Office of the Rockefeller Foundation for over a decade. At the Rockefeller Foundation, he initiated programs to develop markets for African farmers, philanthropy for African business leaders, and improved access to education.

He also served on the Technical Board of the Forum for African Women Educationalists. Dr. Adesina was Principal Economist for the West Africa Rice Development Association (1990-1995), Senior Economist and Social Science Coordinator for the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (1995-1998) and Assistant Principal Economist of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semiarid Tropics (1988-1990).

As a prolific writer, Dr. Adesina has written over 70 scholarly publications on agriculture and African development.

Dr Adesina has been recognized by several international organizations and has earned several awards. Some of them are listed below:

i)The Sunhak Peace Prize in 2019
ii)Emeka Anyaoku Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019
Iii) The $250,000 World Food Prize Award in 2017
iv)Extraordinary Achievement Award by Silverbird Television in 2015
v) Forbes African Person of the Year in 2013
vi)The Borlaug CAST Award in 2010
vii)Distinguished Alumni Award from Purdue University, USA in 2008
viii)The YARA Prize for the African Green Revolution in Oslo in 2007

At the #UgwumbaLeadershipCenter, we celebrate the sterling achievements of Dr. Adesina Akinwumi and hereby join President Muhammadu Buhari to call for his return as the President of the African Development Bank for the second term.

He is greatly transforming Africa through the African Development Bank!

Many thanks for staying with us this week.

The Rebrand Nigeria Campaign is powered by the Ugwumba Center for Leadership Development in Africa.

God bless Nigeria!


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