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All You Need to Know About “Dr. Akinwumi Adesina”

Akinwumi Adesina is the 8th elected President of the African Development Bank Group. He was elected to the position on May 28, 2015 by the Bank’s Board of Governors at its Annual Meetings in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

He took office at the Bank’s headquarters in Abidjan on September 1, 2015 and will serve an initial five-year term.

Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina is a distinguished 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.

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.

He was previously 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.

Adesina was 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 an Assistant Principal Economist at the International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT). From 2008 to 2010, Adesina 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, 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.

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Adesina 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.

Early Life and Career

Dr. Akinwumi Adesina was born in Ibadan, Oyo State. He attended a village school and graduated with a Bachelors in Agricultural Economics with First Class Honors from the University of Ife, Nigeria (1981), where he was the first student to be awarded this distinction by the university.

He pursued his studies at Purdue University in Indiana, briefly returning to Nigeria in 1984 to get married. He obtained his PhD (Agricultural Economics) in 1988 from Purdue where he won the Outstanding PhD Thesis for his research work.

From 1990 to 1995, Adesina served as a senior economist at West African Rice Development Association (WARDA) in Bouaké, Ivory Coast.

He worked at the Rockefeller Foundation since winning a fellowship from the Foundation as a senior scientist in 1988. From 1999 to 2003 he was the representative of the Foundation for the southern African area. From 2003 until 2008 he was an associate director for food security.

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Minister of Agriculture, 2010–2015

Akinwumi Adesina was the Nigerian Agriculture Minister from 2010 to 2015. During this time the Permanent Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development was Ibukun Odusote.

Akinwumi Adesina was named as Forbes African Man of the Year for his reform of Nigerian agriculture.

He introduced more transparency into the fertilizer supply chain. He also said that he would give away mobile phones to farmers but this proved too difficult. One of the reasons was the lack of a mobile network in country areas.

In 2010, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon appointed him as one of 17 global leaders to spearhead the Millennium Development Goals.

President of the African Development Bank, 2015–Present

On 28 May 2015, Akinwumi Adesina was elected the presumptive President of the African Development Bank. He began his tenure of the office on 1 September 2015. He is the eighth president in the organization’s history, and the first Nigerian to hold the post.

He launched a strategy based on energy, agriculture, industrialization, regional integration and bettering Africans’ lives. The Board of Executive Directors approved the reorganization of the structure around these five priorities.

In September 2016, Adesina was appointed by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to serve as member of the Lead Group of the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement.

In 2017, he was awarded 2017 World Food Prize. Upon receiving the prize on October 21, 2017. Adesina donated the $250,000 he received to the development of African youth in agriculture.

Personal Life

While at Purdue University Akinwumi Adesina and his wife, along with another couple, started a Christian group called the African Student Fellowship. He and his wife Grace have two children, Rotimi and Segun.


  • In July 2007, he was awarded the YARA Prize for the African Green Revolution in Oslo.
  • In 2008, Purdue University’s College of Agriculture gave him their Distinguished Agricultural Alumni Award.
  • In 2010 he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters by Franklin and Marshall College
  • In 2013, he was named as Forbes Africa Person of the Year.
  • On May 5, 2015, he was awarded an Extraordinary Achievement Award by Silverbird Television, Nigeria.
  • On June 26, 2017, he was named winner of the World Food Prize.
  • In 2018 he was awarded an Honorary Doctor by Afe Babalola University.
  • On June 4, 2019, he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science Degree by the University of Alberta, Canada


  • 2012: Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
  • 2015: Grand Officier of the National Order of the Lion of Senegal.
  • 2017: Grand Officier of the Order of Valour of the Cameroon.
  • 2017: Grand Officier of the National Order of Merit of Niger.
  • 2018: Grand Officier of the Order of Mono of Togo.
  • 2018: Grand Cordon of the Order of the Star of Africa of Liberia.
  • 2019: Grand Officer of the National Order of Merit of Tunisia


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