By Eric Elezuo
One of Africa’s foremost universities, the Makerere University, in Kampala, Uganda, has honoured the President of African Development Bank (AfDB), Mr Akinwumi Adesina with an Honorary Doctorate of Letters award.
The honour, according to the Vice Chancellor of the Institution, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, who made the announcement, is in recognition of Adesina’s exemplary service and contribution to humanity.
Earlier, the university had released a statement on the award as follows:
The current President of African Development Bank Group Dr.
is to be physically present for the award of the Honorary Doctorate on the last day of the 71st Graduation Ceremony on Friday 21st May 2021 at the Makerere University Freedom Square.
Receiving the Honorary Doctorate of Letters award, an elated Adesina was full of praises for the prestigious institution, Makerere University and the Vice Chancellor, Prof Nawangwe.
Afterwards, the Group CEO of Equity Bank, Dr James Mwangi, hosted a dinner in honor of the international citizen in Kampala.
BRIEF BACKGROUND OF AKINWUMI ADESINA
Adesina was born to a Nigerian farmer in Ibadan, Oyo State, on February 6, 1960. He attended a village school and graduated with a Bachelors in Agricultural Economics with First Class Honors from the University of Ife, Nigeria in 1981. He was basically the first student to be awarded this distinction by the university. He followed up his studies at Purdue University in Indiana, briefly returning to Nigeria in 1984 to get married.
Afterwards, he returned to school, obtaining his PhD (Agricultural Economics) in 1988 from Purdue, winning the Outstanding Ph.D Thesis for his research work in the bargain.
Adesina’s professional career kicked off proper in 1990, when he served as a Senior Economist at West African Rice Development Association (WARDA) in Bouaké, Ivory Coast. He served till 1995.
He worked at the Rockefeller Foundation since winning a fellowship from the Foundation as a senior scientist in 1988. From 1999 to 2003 he was the representative of the Foundation for the southern African area. And from 2003 until 2008, he was an Associate Director for food security.
In 2010, he was appointed Nigerian Agriculture Minister, a post he held till 2015 when the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan ended.
Adesina was named as Forbes African Man of the Year for his reform of Nigerian agriculture. He introduced more transparency into the fertiliser supply chain. He also said that he would give away mobile phones to farmers but this proved too difficult as a result of lack of mobile network in rural areas.
In 2010, United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon appointed him as one of 17 global leaders to spearhead the Millennium Development Goals.
On May 28, 2015, just before he completed his tenure as the Nigerian Minister of Agriculture, a position he had held for four years, Adesina was elected the presumptive President of the African Development Bank. He began his tenure of the office on September 1 2015. He is the eighth president in the organization’s history, and the first Nigerian to hold the post.
On resumption at the AfDB, He launched a strategy based on energy, agriculture, industrialization, regional integration and bettering Africans’ lives. The Board of Executive Directors approved the reorganization of the structure around these five priorities.
In September 2016, Adesina was appointed by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to serve as member of the Lead Group of the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement.
In 2017, he was awarded 2017 World Food Prize. Upon receiving the prize on October 21, 2017. Adesina donated the $250,000 he received to the development of African youth in agriculture. That is how generous and benevolent he is.
Adesina is not all work; he is reportedly very close to his God. While at Purdue University, he, his wife, along with another couple, started a Christian group called the African Student Fellowship. He and his wife Grace have two children, Rotimi and Segun.
As an Agricultural Economist, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina has been a leader in agricultural innovation for over 30 years. He has contributed greatly to food security in Africa, aimed at improving the lives of millions currently living in poverty, throughout the African continent. The Sunhak Committee acknowledges Dr. Akinwumi Adesina’s achievements in promoting Good Governance of Africa, which boosts Africa’s capacity to feed itself and transform its total economies for generating wealth for millions of rural and poor African farmers.
At the Cape Town International Convention Center, the Sunhak Peace Prize Committee announced him as a co-winner of the 2019 Laureates for the Sunhak Peace Prize, the other person is Waris Dirie, 53 year-old world-class supermodel and anti-FGM activist.
Dr. Akinwumi Adesina has been a leader in agricultural innovation in Africa for over 30 years, bringing great improvement to Africa’s food security. contributing to Africa’s dynamic growth. His leadership is building stepping-stones for Africa’s dynamic growth.
Chairman of the Sunhak Peace Prize Committee, Dr. Il Sik Hong, stated that “the Sunhak Peace Prize was established based upon the vision of “One Family Under God.” The 2019 Sunhak Peace Prize gives special attention to peace and human development in Africa.”
Dr. Hong added “in order for us to build an era of peace and coexistence in the 21st century, we want to encourage continuous development in Africa. Africa is a rising star and its growth will contribute global progress and development throughout the 21st century.”
The Sunhak Peace Prize honors individuals and organizations who have made significant contributions to the peace and the welfare of the future generations. The Sunhak Peace Prize includes a cash prize totaling one million dollars. The 2019 Sunhak Peace Prize Award Ceremony will take place in February, 2019 in Seoul, Korea.
Dr. Akinwumi Adesina pioneered major transformations in the agricultural field, including expanding rice production by introducing high yielding technologies, designing and implementing policies to support farmers’ access to technologies at scale, increasing the availability of credit for millions of smallholder farmers, attracting private investments for the agricultural sector, rooting out the corrupt elements in the fertilizer industry, and assisting in establishment of major agricultural policies for Africa’s green revolution.
The “Africa Fertilizer Summit,” which he organized in 2006, was one of the largest high-level meetings in Africa’s history that had a focus on solving Africa’s food issues. During this Summit, Dr. Adesina was instrumental in developing the “Abuja Declaration on Fertilizer for the African Green Revolution,” whereby the participants stated their commitment to the “eradication of hunger in Africa, by 2030.”
Dr. Adesina worked with various banks and international NGOs in order to create an innovative financing system, providing loans to small farmers, providing a way for them to rise out of poverty. This move leveraged $100 million in loans and provided opportunities for small farmers to increase their agricultural productivity, and their income.
Dr. Akinwumi Adesina currently serves as the president of the African Development Bank Group which plays a central role in Africa’s development. As an “economic commander” of Africa, he promotes the “High 5 Strategy” that include: light up and power Africa, feed Africa, industrialize Africa, integrate Africa and improve the quality of life for the people of Africa. As a result of his work, the lives of millions of people throughout Africa have been improved.
He was instrumental in gathering no fewer than 200 leading African political, business, and diplomatic leaders in Johannesburg for the 8th African Leadership Magazine Persons of the Year Award dinner. He was the cynosure of all eyes. Adesina’s achievements shone like a million stars as he was named and honored as the African of the Year 2019, the most popular vote-based third-party endorsement in Africa.
The event which was themed ‘Africa for Africans – Exploring the Gains of a Connected Continent’, brought together dignitaries including South African Deputy President, David D Mabuza, South AfricanMinisters Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Lindiwe Zulu, and Dr. Ken Giami, Publisher of African Leadership Magazine.
In the keynote speech he delivered on the night, Adesina’s passion for the continent was seen as palpable, connecting with the attentive audience. Much as he deserved the honour by every standard, he nonetheless expressed deep humility in being recognised, clasifying his giant strides as ‘modest achievements and contributions to Africa’.
“Humbled to be nominated by what I gather to be 60% of the votes cast by some 1 million people, humbled to be at the helm of an organisation that is making a tremendous difference across Africa – the African Development Bank. An organisation that is daily making prosperity a reality,” he said.
He dedicated the award to his wife, Grace, the Board, staff, and colleagues at the bank, his mother, and “to the young mothers, struggling to bring up a child, to the farmer in search of a better tomorrow, to the youth of Africa longing for a better future, and to Africa’s journalists who risk their lives in helping to tell Africa’s true story.”
Seen as the visionary behind the African Development Bank’s High 5 strategy, he noted that the primary focus of the African Development Bank is “to light up and power Africa, to feed Africa, to industrialise Africa, to integrate Africa, and to improve the quality of life of the people of Africa. Five simple, strategic, and highly focused objectives.” The truth is he has never reneged in achieving the feats.
The African Leadership Magazine Persons of the Year Awards is now the most popular vote-based third-party endorsement in Africa.
Adesina’s doctorate honours from the prestigious Makerere University is additional feather to a crown full of distinguished feathers.