Popular Nigerian Agriculture Minister Elected AfDB President

Popular Nigerian Agriculture Minister Elected AfDB President

Akinwumi Adesina, Nigerian Minister of Agriculture, was elected president of the African Development Bank Thursday in Abidjan, beating out seven other candidates for the continent’s top banking job.

Adesina, 55, will succeed outgoing AfDB bank President Donald Kaberuka of Rwanda, who served two consecutive terms since 2005 at a time of economic transformation on the continent, eNCA reports.

African Development Bank has given out $100 billion in loans and grants since it was founded in 1964. The development finance institution was established to contribute to the economic development and social progress of African countries.

This was Nigeria’s third try for the AfDB presidency. Adesina bring years of experience working in African agriculture, and a passion for eradicating poverty in Africa through youth engagement in agriculture.

That passion, and his desire to change the image of agriculture to one that can make millionaires, landed Adesina the title of “African of the Year” by Forbes magazine.

Adesina is credited with introducing Nirsal, an agribusiness facility started in 2011 that is often cited as instrumental in getting banks to increase their agricultural lending in Nigeria.

He endeared himself to unemployed and under-employed Africans — not just in Nigeria, but all over the continent — when he said his goal was to make as many millionaires, maybe even billionaires, from agriculture as possible.

Adesina has strong ties to U.S. and to philanthropic organizations.

Before his appointment as Nigeria’s agriculture minister in 2010, Adesina worked for the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) as vice president of policy and partnerships. AGRA was founded in 2006 and is funded by Bill Gates of Microsoft and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

From 1999 to 2003 Adesina worked for the Rockefeller Foundation as it representative for Southern Africa. The U.S. philanthropic organization works “to promote the well being of humanity throughout the world.”

Adesina is credited with cleaning up 40 years of corruption in Nigeria’s fertilizer industry. He’s expressed a desire to add value to “every single thing,” when it comes to agriculture, starting with cassava.

Participating in the election of the AfDB president were 80 AfDB shareholders — 54 African states and 26 non-African countries — eNCA reports.