Dr. Akinwumi Adesina is Nigeria’s Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Forbes Africa Person of the Year 2013. He was recognized for his bold reforms in Nigeria’s agriculture sector; empowering more than six million farmers across Nigeria.
Championing agricultural investments in one of Africa’s fastest growing economies, the Minister is aggressively implementing bold policy reforms and pursuing innovative agricultural investment programs to expand opportunities for the private sector, moving agriculture away from a development program to a business.
The minister is a consummate scholar of African agriculture and economics with more than 20 years of experience managing successful agricultural programs across Africa
Until his appointment as Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development in 2011, he was the Vice President of Policy & Partnerships for the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) an organization which works to improve African food security.
While at AGRA, the minister fostered cooperation among African governments, donors, farmers’ organizations and the private sector to stimulate agricultural growth and to unlock new opportunities for farmers. Before joining AGRA in 2008, the minister was associate director for Food Security at the Rockefeller Foundation for more than a decade. He has held senior positions within the international agricultural research centers of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), including the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), West Africa Rice Development Association (WARDA) and the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT).
In 2007, the minister was awarded the prestigious YARA Prize in Oslo, Norway for his leadership in pioneering innovative approaches to improve access of agricultural inputs for African farmers. 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 the Borlaug CAST Award in 2010 by the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology, USA, for his global leadership on agricultural science and technology. The same year, Dr. Adesina was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters by Franklin and Marshall College, USA, for his global leadership on agriculture and improving the lives and livelihoods of the poor.
In 2010, the minister 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 Development Goals. Dr. Adesina now serves on the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition, recently launched at the G8 Food and Nutrition Summit 2013 in London.
In 2012, the minister was conferred with second highest National Honor, the Commander of the Order of Niger, for his outstanding service to his country.
The minister has a doctorate from Purdue University, Indiana and a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture Economics from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife.