By Joe Bavier in Abidjan
Nigeria’s Agriculture Minister Dr Akinwumi Adesina is set to replace Donald Kaberuka as the new president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), a post that will see him guide the institution through Africa’s increasingly complex financial environment.
During six rounds of voting, Adesina defeated seven rivals from across the continent. He won around 60 per cent of the votes by the Bank’s board of governors in an election held in Ivory Coast, where the AfDB is based. Adesina will take over from the current president, Donald Kaberuka of Rwanda, to become the 50-year-old body’s eighth leader. “I want to assure you that, as president of the Bank, I will be a responsible president,” he said in a speech following his victory. “I will be focused and I will work with you to build upon the tremendous work of President Kaberuka.”
A development economist with a PhD from Purdue University in the United States, the 55-year-old Adesina arrived at Nigeria’s agriculture ministry in 2011. In the process he took over an agriculture sector left neglected for decades as Africa’s top oil producer became increasingly dependent upon petroleum revenues. Under his stewardship, food production increased by 22 million tonnes and food imports dropped more than a third, in an agricultural revival the government claims created around three million jobs.