Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank and former Nigerian Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development has won the 2017 World Food Prize for his innovative work in funding agriculture.
The accomplishment comes at a time when agribusiness has become a prime commodity among African development leaders on the continent. It’s potential to lift millions out of poverty and revitalize sagging economies is an attractive option for national leaders to move Africa forward.
Adesina was born to farmers in Ogun State Nigeria. After graduating from Obafemi Awolowo University he earned a PhD in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University. After school Adesina worked at the West African Rice Development Association as a senior economist and the Rockefeller Foundation among various other prestigious appointments. Adesina was named 2013 Man of The Year by Forbes for his transformative work in the Nigerian agricultural sector. He was also among 17 world leaders appointed by UN Secretary Ban Ki-Moon to develop the Millennium Development Goals.
Adesina is one of only six Africans who have won the award since the category’s inception in 1987. Past African winners hale from Ghana, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Uganda, and Cape Verde. He is the first Nigerian to win the distinguished prize.