Akinwunmi Adesina

AfDB’s Akinwunmi Adesina: Biography, Education, Wife, Children, Career, Net worth and Controversies


Dr Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina was born on the 6th of February 1960 in Oyo state.

His father was an agriculturist. So his profound excellence in the agricultural sector shouldn’t be far-fetched.

Adesina often describe as “Africa’s Optimist-in-Chief” recorded massive excellence in the agricultural sector when he served as the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development under President Goodluck Jonathan.

Adeshina is an economist and an agriculture guru.

Dr Adeshina is currently the 8th elected president of the African Development Bank and the first Nigerian to occupy the office.


Adeshina is reported to have attended a primary and secondary school in his village in Oyo State.

He attended the prestigious University of Ife (Obafemi Awolowo University) where he studied Agricultural Economics in 1981.

Adeshina was the first student to earn a distinction in his course of study from the university.

Dr Adesina later attended Purdue University, USA where he bagged his Masters’s and PhD.

His PhD thesis “Farmer behaviour and new agricultural technologies in the rainfed agriculture of southern Niger: A stochastic programming analysis” won the prestigious Rockefeller Foundation Social Science Fellowship in 1988, which launched him into his international career.


Adeshina in a publication said his father tried to make him become a medical doctor but finally settled for agriculture when he couldn’t make the pass mark.

my father wanted me to be a medical doctor. I was just 14 years old then

Whenever I wanted to take the exams, he would fill the form, with medicine as my first choice, veterinary medicine as my second choice and dentistry, as my third choice. But every time I applied, they would say, ‘sorry, your grade did not make it to medical school, we will take you for agriculture. My father, who grew up as a poor farmer, would say no! I tried three times and each time I was taken for agriculture.”

After numerous efforts, his father nodded in agreement and said: “Go, God desperately wants you in agriculture“.

Adeshina started his professional career as a senior economist at West African Rice Development Association (WARDA) in Bouaké, Ivory Coast in 1990 to 1995.

In 1988 he won a Rockefeller Foundation fellowship. He worked with the foundation as a senior scientist.

He proceeded to International Crops Research Institute for the Semiarid Tropics in 1988 where he worked as an Assistant Principal Economist till 1990.

Then later to International Institute for Tropical Agriculture(IITA) as a Social Science Coordinator in 1995.

He was the Vice President of Policy and Partnerships for the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) before he was appointed as Agriculture Minister by President Goodluck Jonathan. A position he occupied before his transition to the African Development Bank.


Dr Adesina is married to, Grace. ”I will marry you 35 times over,” he said about his wife in 2019.

The marriage is blessed with two sons, Rotimi and Segun and a granddaughter, Noemi.


As an Agriculture minister, the sector recorded revolutionary change under his leadership.

His achievements include but are not limited to:

Ending corruption in the fertiliser sector by implementing an innovative electronic wallet system, which directly provides farmers with farm inputs using their mobile phones. 

Nigeria’s food production expanded by an additional 21 million metric tonnes under his leadership

His successes as a Minister ushered him to the AfDB where he continued his developmental progressive work.

At the AfDB, he launched an initiative called High 5, with the aim of transforming the lives of Africans. The aim of the High 5 is to

  • Light Up and Power Africa; 
  • Feed Africa; 
  • Integrate Africa; 
  • Industrialise Africa, 
  • and Improve the quality of life of the people of Africa. 

The initiative impacted the lives of  335 million Africans 

He also initiated an intervention to protect Africa from the immediate aftermath of COVID-19 by launching a crisis response facility of $10 billion to support African countries.

Dr Adeshina, a prolific writer, has authored over 70 scholarly publications ranging from agricultural development, policies, and African development issues. 

In 2017, Dr Adesina was a recipient of the Bill Gates award  World Food Prize a

Dr Adesina was also ranked among the top 15 of the 100 most influential global leaders of multilateral development organisations. 

In 2013 and 2019, was named the Forbes Africa Person of the Year.

In 2019 he was awarded the Grand Officer of the National Order of Merit of Tunisia.

On October 31, 2019, Dr Adesina led the African Development Bank to achieve the highest capital increase since the Bank’s establishment in 1964, when shareholders from 80 member countries raised the general capital of the Bank by 125%. This increased the Bank’s capital by $115 billion, from $93 billion to $208 billion, a historic achievement for Africa.

In 2020, he bagged an honorary Doctor of Science Degree at the Federal University Of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Nigeria.

In May 2021, Makerere University in Uganda Dr Adesina with an Honorary Doctorate for his service to Africa.

He was also named The Guardian Newspaper’s Man of the Year in 2021 and The Vanguard Man of the Year in 2022

In 2022, at the Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia, he was awarded an Honorary Degree for his profound contribution to the field of Economics.


According to a publication, a 15-page petition of “impunity and bad governance” was submitted to the Board of Governors’ Ethics Committee by a group of Staff Members of the AfDB. 

In the reports are various whistleblowing allegations against Mr Adeshina. 

Allegations against him include misconduct, favouritism, arbitrary recruitment, private gain, impediment of efficiency, overruling director decisions on his own, nepotism, political lobbying, and the use of bank resources for personal advantage.

He denied the charges as “attempts by some to tarnish” his impeccable reputation.

This was duly investigated by the committee when the United States government demanded that an in-depth investigation should be conducted into the allegations levelled against Adeshina by hiring an independent investigator.

After a series of fact checks by the committee, the panel in its conclusion stated that it “concurs with the committee in its findings in respect of all the allegations against the president and finds that they were properly considered and dismissed by the committee.” 

Net worth

Dr Akinwuni Adesina according to an online report earns $163,089 as the president of the African Development Bank Group.

Another source reported that he had a current net worth of $90 million, stating that he made his wealth from multiple businesses.


The information in this article was curated from online sources. NewsWireNGR or its editorial team cannot independently verify all details.

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