Nigeria GuidePersonality Profiles

Akinwumi Adesina

Full Name: Akinwumi “Akin” Adesina
Date of Birth:  6 February 1960.
Marriage status:
 Grace Adesina
Alma mater: University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University), Purdue University in Indiana, USA.
: President of the African Development Bank. (2015 – present)

Akinwumi “Akin” Adesina is a Nigerian economist who is currently serving as the President of the African Development Bank. He previously served as Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development. Until his appointment as Minister in 2010, he was Vice President of Policy and Partnerships for the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). He was elected as the President of the African Development Bank in 2015 and re-elected for a second term in 2020. He is the first Nigerian to hold the post

Early Life and Education

Adesina was born to a Nigerian farmer 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 (now Obafemi Awolowo University), 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.

Adesina was the Nigerian Agriculture Minister from 2010 to 2015. Adesina was named Forbes African Man of the Year for his reform of Nigerian agriculture. He introduced more transparency into the fertiliser 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.

On 28 May 2015, Adesina was elected the presumptive President of the African Development Bank. He began his tenure of the office on 1 September 2015.

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.

On 27 August 2020, Adesina was re-elected as President of the Africa Development Bank for a second term of five years.

Major Achievements

  • As President of the African Development Bank, Dr. Adesina launched in 2015 a bold strategy to transform the lives of Africans called the High 5s: to Light Up and Power Africa; Feed Africa; Integrate Africa; Industrialize Africa; and Improve the quality of life of the people of Africa. The High5s have delivered unprecedented results for Africa and have already impacted the lives of 335 million Africans.
  • He launched the Africa Investment Forum (AIF) in 2018 to attract global capital to support Africa’s accelerated development. The unique investment forum has become the premier investment market place for Africa, and it attracted $ 38.1 Billion and $40 Billion of investment interests into Africa in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
  • On October 31, 2019, Dr. Adesina led the African Development Bank to achieve the highest capital increase since the Bank’s establishment in 1964, when shareholders raised the general capital of the
  • Bank by 125%. This increased the Bank’s capital by $115 billion, from $93 billion to $208 billion, a historic achievement for Africa.
  • Under Dr. Adesina’s leadership at the helm of the African Development Bank, the Bank led efforts to rapidly protect Africa in the immediate aftermath of the COVID-19 by launching a $10 billion crisis response facility to support African countries. The Bank also launched a $3 billion Fight-COVID-19 social bond on the global capital markets, the largest ever U.S dollar denominated social bond in world history.
  • Under Dr. Adesina’s leadership, the African Development Bank was ranked in 2021 by Publish What You Fund as the 4th most transparent institution in the world.
  • Under Dr. Adesina’s leadership, the African Development Fund – the concessionary lending institution of the African Development Bank Group – was ranked as 2nd in the world out of all 49 multilateral and bilateral lending institutions in the world, including all those in developed countries.
  • Under Dr. Adesina’s leadership, the African Development Bank was ranked as the Best Multilateral Financial Institution in the world for 2021 by Global Finance, the globally-renowned financialmagazine.
  • Dr. Adesina was re-elected for a second term in July 2020 by the Governors of the African Development Bank from 81 countries in the world. He received 100% of all the votes of all African countries and of all non-African countries, the first ever to happen in the history of the African Development Bank since its establishment in 1964.
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Dr. Adesina has received several distinctions and global awards.

  • YARA Prize (2007) in Oslo, Norway, for his leadership in pioneering innovative approaches to improve access to agricultural inputs for African farmers.
  • Distinguished Alumni Award from Purdue University, USA, in 2008.
  • Distinguished Alumni Award in 2009 and the Grand Commander of Great Ife in 2013, both from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria.
  • Borlaug CAST Communications Award in 2010 by the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology, USA, for his global leadership on agricultural science and technology.
  • In May 2011, Franklin and Marshall College, USA, awarded Dr Adesina an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters
  • In November 2014, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Agriculture by Purdue University, USA.
  • In December 2015, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science from the Adekunle Ajasin University, Nigeria.
  • In the same year, he received an Honorary Doctorate of Science from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria.
  • In March 2017, Dr Adesina received an Honorary Doctorate of Management from the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria.
  • In October 2017, Purdue University, USA decorated Dr Adesina with its highest honor, the Order of the Griffin, a rare honor given only to 50 persons since 1893, including to Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon.
  • In May 2018, Michigan State University, USA, awarded Dr Adesina an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Agriculture.
  • In October 2018, Dr Adesina received an Honorary Doctorate of Management Science from the National Defense Academy, Nigeria.
  • In October 2018, Dr Adesina received an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from Afe Babalola University, Nigeria.
  • In June 2019, Dr Adesina was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science from the University of Alberta, Canada.
  • In November 2019, Dr Adesina was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Entrepreneurship by Bowen University, Nigeria.
  • In 2010, Dr Adesina was appointed by the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, as one of 17 world leaders to galvanize international support for the United Nations Millennium DevelopmentGoals.
  • In 2019, the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres appointed Dr Adesina as one of the 23 global leaders to help end hunger and malnutrition.
  • He serves globally as one of the Commissioners for the Global Climate Commission, co-Chaired by Bill Gates and former United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, to tackle global climate change.
  • Dr Adesina also serves on the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition.
  • In 2013, Dr Adesina won the Forbes Africa Person of the Year award for his bold reforms in Nigeria’s agriculture sector. He is the first public sector Minister in Africa to win the award.
  • The influential Leadership Newspaper in Nigeria selected Dr Adesina as the 2013 Public Servant of the Year for his bold policy reforms, transparency and public accountability.
  • In  2015,  Dr  Adesina  was  awarded  the  Extra-Ordinary  Achievement  Award  by  Silverbird Television, Nigeria, in recognition of his sterling performance and achievements as Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture.
  • In 2012, Dr Adesina was conferred with Nigeria’s second-highest national honor, the Commander of the Order of the Niger, for his outstanding service to his country, Nigeria.
  • In recognition of his outstanding leadership, passion and dedication to accelerating African development, he was awarded the highest national honors of Senegal, Cameroon, Madagascar, Togo, Liberia, Niger, and Tunisia respectively.
  • In October 2017, the World Food Prize Foundation awarded Dr Adesina the World Food Prize, generally known as the “Nobel Prize for Agriculture”. Dr Adesina devoted his $250,000 Laureates award to establish the World Hunger Fighters Foundation to support the youth in agriculture andto develop a new generation of world hunger fighters.
  • In December 2017, Bill Gates listed Dr Adesina’s award of the World Food Prize and his gesture to use it to support the youth in Africa as one of the seven most encouraging moments of 2017.
  • In December 2017, Dr Adesina was ranked in the top 15 of the 100 most influential global leaders of multilateral development organizations.
  • In February 2019, Dr Adesina was awarded the prestigious Sunhak Peace Prize in Seoul, South Korea, for his global leadership on agriculture, food security, transparency and good governance. He dedicated his $500,000 award prize to the World Hunger Fighters Foundation that he establishedto fight global hunger.
  • In April 2019, leading reputation management firm, Reputation Poll International, listed Dr Adesina among the 100 most reputable people in the world.
  • In October 2019, Dr Adesina was awarded the Emeka Anyaoku Lifetime Achievement Award of Outstanding International Icon by the Hallmarks of Labour Foundation, where Chief Anyaoku,former Commonwealth Secretary General said, “Dr Adesina’s work and leadership are legendary, unprecedented and worthy of emulation.”
  • On 6 December 2019, Dr Adesina was named the African of the Year by the All Africa Business Leaders Awards (AABLA™) in recognition of his bold leadership and the innovation of the Africa Investment Forum, which opened up billions of dollars of investment into the continent.
  • He was recognized as the Forbes Africa Person of the Year 2019.
  • On 29 February 2020, Dr Adesina was named African of the Year 2019 by the African Leadership Magazine. Dr Adesina was awarded the prestigious title after receiving 60% of the votes cast by someone million readers of the magazine.
  • On August 27, 2020, Dr. Adesina was re-elected as the President of the African Development Bank, with 100% of the votes of its shareholders, regionals and non-regionals — the first such in the history of the Bank since 1964.
  • On 14 December 2020, the Academy of Public Health, the flagship body of the West African Institute of Public Health, announced Dr. Adesina as one of the winners of its 2020 Distinguished Fellowship Award for his successful efforts in helping Africa to curb the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • On 21 May 2021, Dr. Adesina was conferred an Honorary Doctorate by Makerere University in Uganda for his exemplary service to Africa and humanity.
  • On 9 September 2021, Dr. Adesina was named Leadership Person of the Year 2020 by Leadership Newspapers in Nigeria.
  • In January 2022, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina was chosen as the Man of the Year 2021 by The Guardian Newspaper for his integrity, good governance and global leadership, calling him “Man of the Year:

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