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Agric Minister, Adesina Elected 8th AfDB President

The Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, has been elected as the 8th President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) to succeed Donald Kaberuka, whose second term ends in August. He was elected yesterday in Abidjan, the capital of Ivory Coast where the African Development Bank Annual General Meeting has been ongoing.

He beat seven other contenders for the top job. His name was announced by Albert Toikeusse Mabri, Minister of Planning and Development for Côte d’Ivoire, and current Chairman of the Board of Governors of the African Development Bank. The election was conducted by the Board within the Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank Group, held in Abidjan. Adesina, 55, will assume office on 1 September 2015.

The cheering news comes as Nigeria prepares for the inauguration of the newly elected administration of President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, which holds today. The incoming president had in April communicated his backing of Dr. Adesina’s candidacy to the Ghanaian President, John Dramani Mahama, who is the current chairperson of the ECOWAS. Buhari said that his support of Dr. Adesina’s candidacy was not just because he is Nigerian but because he “has a proven track record in a career that predates his position as Nigeria’s Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development”.

He added that Dr. Adesina had years of experience of working in Francophone and Anglophone countries, and a passion to help eradicate poverty in Africa by reducing unemployment and inequality among African youth. The statement further adds that “Dr. Adesina is also an agricultural development expert with 24 years of experience in developing and managing successful agricultural Programmes across Africa”.

The new AfDB president holds a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Ife (Obafemi Awolowo University) and a PhD in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University (1988). 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.

From 2003 until 2008 to the present Governhe was an associate director for food security. Until his appointment as Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development in 2011, he was the Vice President, Policy and Partnerships Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).He has also held senior leadership positions in a number of agricultural institutions in the world.

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