Nigeria’s agriculture minister, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, was awarded the prestigious Forbes Africa Person of the Year, defeating four other prestigious nominees.
“I am truly honoured and humbled by this prestigious award, which I dedicate to Africa’s farmers and the new cadre of young business entrepreneurs who have discovered the hidden gem for sustainable wealth creation on our continent – agriculture,” said Adesina. “With dwindling oil fortunes and the end of the telecoms boom, the next big investment frontier is unlocking Africa’s vast agricultural potential to feed the continent and the world.”
Adesina who was nominated for his bold reforms in Nigeria’s agriculture sector, has empowered more than six million farmers across Nigeria to embrace agriculture as a business. A passionate defender of African farmers, Adesina is relentless in unlocking opportunities for farmers and changing Africa’s narrative on agriculture to wealth creation, away from poverty reduction.
Within two years of his taking office, Adesina turned agriculture away from being a development program into a business activity, generating wealth for millions of farmers.
“Africa, with our huge potential, cannot be a museum of poverty” he said. “My passion is using agricultural business and finance innovations to turn Nigerian and African farmers and agribusinesses into millionaires and billionaires. Nigeria must become a global powerhouse in agriculture.”
Sharing his vision for a food-secured continent, Adesina said he dreams of a future where Africa’s vast savannas are revived with crops, where large commercial and smallholder farmers coexist and both prosper. Where rail, road and port systems are improved. Where open international markets enable more food to move from places of surplus to places of need. Where rising incomes bring millions of farmers into Africa’s emerging middle class.