Nigerian Minister, Akinwumi Adesina, elected President of African Development Bank (AfDB)

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Nigeria’s outgoing Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Akinwumi Adesina, on Thursday emerged the 8th President of the African Development Bank (AfDB)

Mr. Adesina, 55, will succeed incumbent president, Donald Kaberuka, at the end of his second term as President of the Bank in August 2015.

The new AfDB President emerged winner at the end of the election conducted by the Board of the Bank during the annual meeting of the African Development Bank Group in Abidjan.

Mr. Adesina’s victory was announced by the Minister of Planning and Development for Côte d’Ivoire, Albert Toikeusse Mabri, who is currently the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Bank.

Mr. Adesina defeated seven other candidates, including Sufian Ahmed, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development of Ethiopia; Jaloul Ayed, President, MED Confederation of Tunisia; Kordjé Bedoumra, Minister of Finance and Budget, Republic of Chad; and Cristina Duarte, Cape Verdean Minister of Finance and Planning, who was also a former Director, Private sector development and competitiveness programme, World Bank Project, Cape Verde.

The others were Samura Kamara, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Sierra Leone;  Thomas Sakala, a Zimbabwean and former Vice-President, Country and Regional Programmes, AfDB; and Birama Sidibé, a  Malian, who is also Vice-President, Islamic Development Bank, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

The election was held in line with the amended rules of procedure governing the election of the President of the African Development Bank (Article 1).

The amendment requires that the bank holds election for its President during the Annual Meeting.

Mr. Adesina’s ambition to head the body was supported by President Goodluck Jonathan and the incoming president, Muhammadu Buhari.

He will assume office on September 1, 2015.

The ADB operates under the leadership of the President, who serves as its legal representative, and the Chairperson of the Board of Directors, and the Chief of Staff of the Bank.

The President conducts the business of the bank, under the direction of the Board of Directors.

The President is elected by the Board of Governors and serves a five-year term, renewable once.

The current President, Donald Kaberuka, a national of Rwanda, was elected in July 2005, and commenced his first term on September 1, 2005.

Following his re-election in May 2010, he commenced his last five-year term on September 1 2010.

Below is a brief biography of Mr. Adesina as published on the website of Nigeria’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Dr. Adesina is a distinguished agricultural development expert with 24 years of experience in developing and managing successful agricultural programmes across Africa.

He graduated with Bachelors degree in Agricultural Economics with First Class Honours from the University of Ife, Nigeria (1981), where he was the first student to be awarded this distinction by the University. He obtained his PhD degree in Agricultural Economics in 1988 from Purdue University, USA, where he won the Outstanding PhD Thesis for his research work.

Until his appointment as the Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development in 2011, he was the Vice President, Policy and Partnerships Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). Dr. Adesina has held senior leadership positions in some of the foremost agricultural institutions in the world.

He was Principal Economist and Social Science Coordinator for the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture, Ibadan (1995-1998); Principal Economist and Coordinator of the West Africa Rice Economics Task Force at the West Africa Rice Development Association (1990-1995); and Assistant Principal Economist at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics. He was Associate Director, Food Security at the Rockefeller Foundation where he was in senior leadership positions from 1998- 2008; Regional Office Director and Representative for Southern Africa.

He has published extensively and served on Editorial Boards of several leading journals. He was the President of the African Association of Agricultural Economists from 2008-2010. He has received several international awards for his work and leadership in agriculture.

In 2007, he was awarded the prestigious YARA Prize in Oslo, Norway, for his leadership in pioneering innovative approaches for improving farmers’ access to agricultural inputs in Africa. He was awarded the Borlaug CAST Award in 2010 by the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology, USA, for his global leadership in agricultural science and technology. He received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Purdue University in 2008 and the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Obafemi Awolowo University, in 2009. He was awarded Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters by Franklin and Marshall College, USA, in 2010 for his global leadership on agriculture and improving the lives and livelihoods of the poor.

He was appointed by the United Nations Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon as one of the 17 global leaders to spearhead the Millennium Development Goals. His passion is to use agriculture to end hunger, create wealth and jobs and drive equitable economic growth in Africa to lift millions out of poverty. He has brought that passion to his native home Nigeria, in his present position as the Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, where he is already spearheading major reforms to transform Nigerian agriculture.

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