The former minister of agriculture of Nigeria, Akinwumi Adesina, just started his fifth year as the African Development Bank's (AfdB) president. One of his most notable achievements has been the launch of the High 5s strategy that focuses on five key development priorities for transforming the African continent: energy, agriculture, industrialisation, regional integration and improvements to the quality of African peoples’ lives. During the 54th annual meetings, Adesina confirmed that he plans to run for a second term. “I will run again to continue the work we started,” Adesina declared.
In his early career, Adesina was the principal economist for the West Africa Rice Development Association in Bouaké, Côte d’Ivoire (1990- 1995), senior economist and social science co-ordinator for the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (1995-1998), and assistant principal economist for the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (1988-1990). As a staff member of the Rockefeller Foundation, he also worked as a representative for the southern Africa area (1999-2003) and then as an associate director for food security (2003-08). In 2010, Adesina was appointed as Nigeria’s minister of agriculture and rural development (2010-15). He implemented important policy reforms in the fertilizer sector and pursued innovative agricultural investment programmes to expand opportunities for the private sector.
Since his appointment as AfDB president, agriculture has remained a key priority for the institution. In 2016, Adesina became a member of the lead group of the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement. In 2017, he won the World Food Prize and donated the USD 250 000 to the development of African youth in agriculture. Born to a family of Nigerian farmers from Ibadan in Oyo State, Adesina holds a degree in agricultural economics from the University of Ife, Nigeria (1981) and a PhD degree from the Purdue University in Indiana, United States (1988).