Akinwunmi Adesina is Vice President (Policy and Partnerships) for the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), an organization established with support from the Rockefeller Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation with the goal of bringing a green revolution to Africa, and lifting millions of poor farmers out of poverty and food insecurity.
He won the Rockefeller Foundation Social Science Research Fellowship in 1988, which initiated his career in international agricultural development. He has worked in senior research positions in international agricultural research centres of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research. He joined the Rockefeller Foundation, New York, as a senior scientist for Africa in 1998 and later served as Rockefeller Foundation representative for Southern Africa, based in Harare, Zimbabwe (1999-2003).
He is also an associate director (food security) at The Rockefeller Foundation, based in Nairobi, Kenya (2003-present). Dr. Adesina helped to design, inspire and galvanize support for the landmark Africa Fertilizer Summit. He is consultant on agricultural development issues in Africa by the World Economic Forum, World Bank and African Development Bank, among other institutions.
Dr Adesina was a lead organizer of the Africa Fertilizer Summit for African heads of state in 2006. He was instrumental in framing the soil health policies adopted there by over 40 African governments, the African Union the New Partnership of African Development (NEPAD), and other leading global development institutions. Mr. Adesina has worked in senior research leadership positions at IITA, WARDA and ICRISAT. In July 2007, he received the YARA Prize for the African Green Revolution in Oslo for his pioneering work with agricultural inputs and agro-dealer networks in Africa.
In 2008, he was honoured with Purdue University’s College of Agriculture Distinguished Agricultural Alumni Award, for his inspiring leadership in spearheading transformative change in African agriculture. In 2009, Mr. Adesina was appointed into the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Advocacy Group that will drive the rapid achievement of the Goals across the globe. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon described him as an “eminent personality’’ who had shown outstanding leadership in promoting the implementation of the MDGs.
Dr Adesina holds a PhD in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University (USA). He is currently serving as the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of Nigeria, a position to which he was appointed in July 2011. He is married to Grace and together they have two children, Rotimi and Segun.