AfDB president clinches $250k world food prize

AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina during an interview with members of the Pan African Media Alliance for Climate Change (PAMACC) (PHOTO: ClimateReporters/Atayi Babs)
AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina during an interview with members of the Pan African Media Alliance for Climate Change (PAMACC) (PHOTO: ClimateReporters/Atayi Babs)

President of the African Development Bank Dr Akinwumi Adesina has been named the 2017 World Food Prize Laureate.

He is the fifth African to win the international honours that recognizes individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world.

Adesina takes home the $250,000 award for his roles over the past two decades with the Rockefeller Foundation, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), and as Minister of Agriculture of Nigeria.

This was announced on Monday by the president of the World Food Prize, Ambassador Kenneth Quinn at a ceremony held in the United States.

“The selection of President Akinwumi Adesina as the 2017 World Food Prize Laureate reflects both his breakthrough achievements as Minister of Agriculture of Nigeria and his critical role in the development of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). It also gives further impetus to his profound vision for enhancing nutrition, uplifting smallholder farmers, and inspiring the next generation of Africans as they confront the challenges of the 21st century,” said Quinn.

He noted his role in the organisation of the 2006 Africa Fertilizer Summit at the Rockefeller Foundation; leading a major expansion of commercial bank lending to farmers as Vice President of AGRA; and, as Minister of Agriculture in Nigeria, introduced the E-Wallet system, which broke the back of corrupt elements that had controlled the fertilizer distribution system for 40 years.

“His policies expanded Nigeria’s food production by 21 million metric tons, and the country attracted $5.6 billion in private sector investments in agriculture – earning him the reputation as the ‘farmer’s Minister’,” he added.

“As someone who grew out of poverty, I know that poverty is not pretty … 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,” said Adesina.

The World Food Prize was founded in 1986 by 1970 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Dr. Norman E. Borlaug.

Among the 45 recipients of the World Food Prize are five Africans including: Dr Monty Jones – Sierra Leone (2004), Dr Gebisa Ejeta – Ethiopia (2009), John Agyekum Kufuor – Ghana (2011), Dr Maria Andrade – Cape Verde (2016), Dr Robert Mwanga – Uganda (2016).

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