The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Dr.Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina has won the World Food Prize 2017.
The World Food Prize is an international award founded in 1986 by Dr. Norman E. Borlaug to recognize the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food globally.
Over the last two decades, Adesina has played a leading role in: significantly expanding food production in Nigeria; introducing initiatives to exponentially increase the availability of credit for smallholder farmers across the African continent; and galvanizing the political will to transform African agriculture.
In 2006 as Associate Director for Food Security at the Rockefeller Foundation, he organized the Africa Fertilizer Summit in Nigeria, an event hailed as essential in igniting the campaign to spread a new Green Revolution across Africa by Dr. Borlaug. The Summit led to the creation of Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).
As Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture between 2011 and 2015, he successfully transformed the country’s agriculture sector through broad reforms including programs to make Nigeria self-sufficient in rice production and help cassava become a major cash crop.
By launching the e-wallet system, he ended four decades of corruption in Nigeria’s fertilizer and seed sectors, directly providing farmers with redeemable vouchers for inputs using mobile phones.
Adesina’s policies expanded Nigeria’s food production by 21 million metric tons, securing food for 40 million people in rural farm households; and attracted the country $5.6 billion in private sector investments in agriculture.
“My life mission is to lift up millions of people out of poverty, especially farmers in rural areas of Africa. We must give hope and turn agriculture into a business all across Africa to create wealth for African economies. The World Food Prize gives me an even greater global platform to make that future happen much faster for Africa,” the AfDB President said.
Adesina contributed to the development of AGRA where he formed partnerships with the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation and the Kilimo Trust to provide loans to tens of thousands of smallholder farmers and the agribusinesses that support them in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana and Mozambique.
Receiving the $250,000 prize at the United States Department of Agriculture, Adesina added that an Africa that can feed itself is a big vision possible through political will, a lot of resources and private sector commitment.
Ambassador Kenneth Quinn, President of the World Food Prize Foundation said, “Dr. Adesina’s inspirational leadership, during one of the most critical moments in Africa’s history, provides a perfect centerpiece for the theme of our Borlaug Dialogue International Symposium in October: The Road out of Poverty,” said Quinn.
Hosted by the World Food Prize, the annual Borlaug Dialogue and a variety of youth education programs seek to help further the discussion on cutting-edge global food security issues and inspire the next generation to end hunger.