The President of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina has been named the winner of the 2017 World Food Prize.
Mr Adesina who was the immediate past Minister of Agriculture under President Goodluck Jonathan administration will receive a $250,000 prize for driving change in African agriculture for over 25 years and improving food security for millions across the continent.
The President of the World Food Prize Foundation, Keneth Quinn who made the announcement at the ceremony held at the U.S Department of Agriculture explained that Dr Adesina’s selection was a reflection of both his breakthrough and achievements as the Minister of Agriculture in Nigeria. In his words, Mr. Adesina “led a major expansion of commercial bank lending to farmers as Vice President of Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and as Minister of Agriculture in Nigeria, introduced the E-Wallet system”.
This award is given annually to a person who has contributed greatly to the advancement of human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world.
Quinn said, “These individuals have been at the forefront of every major breakthrough in agriculture and food production in the last 30 years”
Mr Adesina “introduced initiatives to exponentially increase the availability of credit for smallholder farmers across the African continent and galvanized the political will to transform African agriculture,” Quinn said.
He also added that Mr. Adesina “grew up in poverty himself” and embarked on a journey to use his academic training to “lift up millions of people out of poverty, especially farmers in rural Africa”.
Adesina is the 46th person and the sixth African to win the World Food Prize award and will be presented the $250,000 prize at a ceremony at the Iowa State Capitol on October 19.