African Development Bank (AfDB) president Akinwumi Adesina reminded students of the important role they have to play in the continent’s economic development, as he was conferred with an honorary doctorate in his homeland
The Doctorate of Science was awarded by the Federal University of Agriculture in Abeokuta, Nigeria, in honour of Adesina’s work in agriculture and food security across the continent.
Lauding the choice of Adesina as the institution’s 2020 awardee, the chancellor, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi-Otu, described him as a global household name whose exploits in promoting value chain addition in agricultural produce have remained unparalleled.
“Agriculture is the most important profession and business in the world,” Adesina said. He pledged to continue the work of transforming Nigeria’s agriculture sector.
“The size of food and agriculture in Africa will rise to US$1tn by 2030. The population of Africa, now at 1.2 billion, will double to 2.5 billion by 2050. They all must eat. And only through food and agribusiness can this be achieved,” he added.
Adesina said that the AfDB was spearheading efforts to feed Africa and was investing US$25bn over a 10-year period to transform the continent’s agriculture sector. What Africa does with food will determine the future of food, given that 65 per cent of the arable land left to feed the world is here, Adesina said.
“I am delighted to see so many of our young people engaged in agriculture arising from the Youth Employment in Agriculture initiative launched when I was minister to get the youth into agriculture as a business. From their innovations in the use of drones, food processing, packaging, transport and logistics and marketing, they are already unlocking the opportunities in agriculture,” he said.
He urged agricultural universities to optimise their role in linking research, innovations and technologies to farmers and the food and agriculture industry.
“Africa’s youth must become leaders to help feed our world,” he advised.