An African banker was named the 46th World Food Prize Laureate Monday, the first laureate in agriculture to ever lead a regional development bank.
World Food Prize Foundation Ambassador Kenneth Quinn named President of the African Development Bank Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina the forty-sixth World Food Prize Laureate and sixth African laureate.
“His receiving of the World Food Prize will give impetus in the coming decade to his profound vision for enhancing nutrition, eliminating childhood stunting, uplifting smallholder farmers, empowering women and inspiring the next generation of young Africans as the confront the unprecedented challenges of the 21st century,” Quinn said.
The World Food Prize is awarded for a specific, exceptionally significant individual achievement at any point along the food production and distribution chain.
Adesina was recognized for introducing the e-wallet system, which broke the back of corrupt elements that had controlled the fertilizer distribution system in Nigeria for 40 years. The e-wallet system and other reforms he implemented increased food production by 21 million metric tons, and led to an attractive $5.6 billion in private sector investments that earned him the reputation as “the farmers minister.”
United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said Dr. Adesina’s mission closely aligns with the mission of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
“We all have a challenge,” Perdue said. “ Dr. Adesina knows that our work is not done, the challenge of feeding 9 billion people in just a very short time will continue as we address the hunger issue. At the USDA, we keep in mind, as the world’s population grows, we want to be a huge contributor in providing the food needed to resolve and supply the global demand for that vital, noble source. I’m sure that Dr. Adesina would agree that his work and our work is not finished yet, and there’s a lot left to be done.”
The World Food Prize Foundation will hold a ceremony for Adesina October 19 at the State Capitol in Des Moines.