IITA alumnus and AfDB President bags prestigious 2017 World Food Prize
IITA rejoices with its own champion, alumnus, avid supporter, and mentor of the IITA Youth Agripreneurs, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), who was announced the 46th laureate of the most coveted food and agriculture award—the World Food Prize.
The award recognizes his exemplary efforts in driving transformational changes in Nigeria’s agriculture during his time as Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, organizing the 2006 Africa Fertilizer Summit as Associate Director for Food Security at the Rockefeller Foundation, and for leading a major expansion of commercial bank lending to farmers as Vice President of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).
Every year since 1986, the World Food Prize Foundation founded by Nobel Peace Prize recipient Dr Norman Borlaug recognizes the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity, or availability of food in the world.
According to Ambassador Kenneth Quinn, President of the World Food Prize Foundation who made the announcement on 26 June, Adesina was found most deserving of all the candidates the body considered for 2017 because “the reforms he implemented increased food production by 21 million metric tons and attracted 5.6 billion dollars in private sector investments. Dr Adesina’s selection further gives impetus to his profound vision for enhancing nutrition, uplifting smallholder farmers, and inspiring the next generation of Africans as they confront the challenges of the 21st century,” Quinn said.
Adesina will—on 19 October—be presented with the award and the accompanying US$250,000 in an elaborate ceremony in Des Moines, Iowa, USA.
In his congratulatory message, IITA Director General Nteranya Sanginga sums up the feeling of the Institute in these words:
“It is with great joy and no surprise that we received the news that you had been named the 2017 World Food Prize winner. This is a singular honor to you who have consistently spent your life improving the lives of the millions of Africans in the agricultural communities of sub-Saharan Africa and ensuring the food security of many of our African brothers and sisters, but more so for us in IITA here in Nigeria, where you had spent part of your career, and which you are now supporting through your various development programs as part of the High 5 priorities of the AfDB.
We are proud to be associated with you and to work with you and the Bank on our mission to transform agriculture to feed Africa, generate jobs for the teeming millions of Africans, especially the youth, in agribusiness, and lift millions out of poverty.
One example of the impact of your work is captured in an important paper published recently in a prestigious journal by IITA economists on the impact of policies undertaken when you were the Minister of Agriculture in Nigeria. The paper shows vividly the impact of your innovative mobile phone-based input subsidy program in the country…We are honored to be linked to your successes here in Nigeria and Africa in general, and will always be supportive of your initiatives in ensuring that Africa becomes a major player in securing food supplies and providing healthy food and jobs for Africans.
Congratulations, and we look forward to continue working with you and the Bank for many more years to come”.