The African Development Bank (AfDB) has elected Nigeria’s minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Akinwumi Adesina as its president.
Adesina was elected during the bank’s 50th annual general meeting (AGM) held this week in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. He is expected to assume office on September 1 this year, according to an AfDB statement.
He replaces Rwandan Donald Kaberuka, whose second term as the seventh president of the bank ends on August 31 2015 after taking over in 2005.
Said Adesina: “Today, I have been given a great responsibility and humbled by this remarkable vote of confidence on the part of the bank’s board of directors.
“I salute the excellent work of president Kaberuka. It will be a big challenge for me to step into his shoes. He leaves a solid bank behind him.”
Before his new role, Adesina was leader of the policy and partnership team for the Alliance for Green Revolution of Africa (Agra), which he also was one of its founding leaders in 2006.
Reacting to the news, National Smallholder Farmers Association of Malawi (Nasfam) has said Africa’s agriculture stands to grow to greater heights now that it is headed by a passionate agriculturalist in Adesina, who understands that access to credit from commercial banks by smallholder farmers remains a challenge in growing the region’s agriculture.
Nasfam president Dyborn Chibonga said commercial banks in Malawi charge 35 percent interest for lending out towards agriculture yet it is a fact that smallholder farmers support Africa’s food and nutrition security drive.
Said Chibonga: “As a farmers’ organisation, we believe his coming will help herald the need to quickly solve the problem of capital available to farmers and other enterprises.”