The Nigerian, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina has formally taken over the reins of affairs at the African Development Bank (AfDB) as President.
Dr. Donald Kaberuka handed over to Dr. Adesina who was elected on May 28, 2015 at a ceremony in the Ivorian capital, Abidjan Tuesday September 1, 2015.
In his remarks, he expressed the pride to work alongside his colleagues, the wider bank community, the African Union, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the academic community, civil society, the press and other multilaterals to achieve Africa’s development goals.
He emphasized on the Bank’s task to build Africa, unlock the potential of all Africans and to reduce poverty.
The 55-year-old Adesina, is a development economist and agricultural development expert with 25 years of international experience. He is the first Nigerian to serve as President of the Bank Group.
He served as Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development from 2011 to 2015.
He was previously the Vice-President (Policy and Partnerships) of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). He was also Associate Director (Food Security) at the Rockefeller Foundation in New York, where he worked for a decade (1998-2008) in senior leadership positions, including as Regional Office Director and Representative for Southern Africa.
He once worked as the 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 as an Assistant Principal Economist at the International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT).
From 2008 to 2010, he was the President of the African Association of Agricultural Economists.
Adesina has received a number of global awards for his leadership and work in agriculture. In 2010, the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon appointed him as one of 17 global leaders to spearhead the Millennium Development Goals, along with Bill Gates, the Spanish Prime Minister and the President of Rwanda. He was named Person of the Year by Forbes Africa magazine in 2013.
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 PhD in Agricultural Economics at Purdue University in the United States, where he won the Outstanding PhD 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.
Born on February 6, 1960, Adesina speaks fluent French and English.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi