Akinwumi Adesina

African Development Bank Group - President

Often described as “Africa’s Optimist-in-Chief”, African Development Bank Group President Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina (1960) is widely lauded for his visionary leadership and passion for Africa’s transformation.

Formerly the Nigerian Agriculture Minister, Dr. Adesina was first elected President of the African Development Bank Group on May 28, 2015. He was unanimously re-elected for a second five-year term on August 27, 2020. Dr. Adesina graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics (First Class Honors) from the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University), Nigeria, in 1981. Dr. Adesina holds a master’s degree (1985) and a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics (1988) from Purdue University, United States of America, where he won the Outstanding Ph.D. thesis award for that year. Dr. Adesina won the prestigious Rockefeller Foundation Social Science Fellowship in 1988, which launched him into his international career.

A bold reformer, as Minister of Agriculture in Nigeria from 2011 to 2015 Dr. Adesina turned the agriculture sector of Nigeria around within four years. Under his tenure, Nigeria ended 40 years of corruption in the fertilizer sector by developing and implementing an innovative electronic wallet system, which directly provides farmers with subsidized farm inputs at scale using their mobile phones. Within the first four years of its launch, this electronic wallet system reached 15 million farmers, dramatically transforming their lives.

With Dr. Adesina at the helm, the African Development Bank Group achieved the highest capital increase since its establishment in 1964 when on October 31, 2019, shareholders from then 80 member countries raised the general capital from $93 billion to a historic $208 billion. The African Development Bank Group responded boldly and swiftly to various crises facing the continent. On April 3, 2020, the premier development finance institution launched a landmark $3 billion Covid-19 Social Bond followed by a Crisis Response Facility of $10 billion. On May 20, 2022, the Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group approved $1.5 billion facility to help African countries avert a looming food crisis in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Dr. Adesina has been recognized with numerous awards. On October 19, 2017, the President was conferred with the World Food Prize, also known as the “Nobel Prize for Agriculture”. On February 29, 2020, he was named African of the Year 2019 by one million readers of the African Leadership Magazine. On December 14, 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 February 2, 2022, the President was conferred an Honorary Doctorate by the Federal University of Technology in Nigeria in recognition of his global leadership in agriculture, food security, development finance, and good governance. On May 8, 2022, Dr. Adesina was awarded with an Honorary Doctorate by Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, acknowledging his career achievements in agriculture, and the innovative High 5 development priorities for Africa, which he conceived shortly after his election as President of the African Development Bank Group in 2015. On May 14, 2022, the President received an Honorary Doctorate from Addis Ababa University for his significant role in development activities in Ethiopia and Africa at large.