Akinwumi Adesina, Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development was elected President of the African Development Bank, beating seven other contestants. He was voted in on Thursday at the bank’s 50th annual meeting.
Speaking on the final day of the meeting, Adesina assured the gathering that AfDB was in good hands.
“Mr. President Kaberuka and dear big brother, I can assure you that the bank is in good hands. Your legacy is in good hands and I will continue to keep this heritage you leave behind,” Adesina told the outgoing president, saying he was immensely proud of his predecessor’s vision for Africa.
Akinwumi Adesina was appointed as Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development by the Goodluck Jonathan administration in 2010.
Under him, Nigerian farmers have seen significant agricultural reforms. In 2012 he introduced an e-wallet system whereby 10 million mobile phones were distributed to Nigerian farmers. This was done to avoid middle-men, who have always been a stumbling block when it comes to receiving information on seedlings and fertilizer vouchers.
A large number of farmers (up to 14 million) registered for this system and analysts say that it has made the lives of many Nigerian farmers easier. This innovation led Forbes Magazine to name him African of the year in 2013. (DW)
While it was expected that his nationality would count against him as the bank’s smaller members generally tend to vote against candidates from the continent’s biggest economies out of fear they may be bullied by them. His proposal to have the bank take more risk and lend to smaller and needier countries seemed to have handled that problem as he succeeded where two Nigerian candidates had lost out before.
Akinwumi Adesina is the first Nigerian and to hold the position and 8th President of the AfDB. He will assume office on September 1.
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