The president of African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, is this years’ recipient of the $250 000 World Food Prize for expanding food production on the continent through policy reforms, financial innovation and modern farming practices.
“I believe what Africa does with agriculture and how it does it, is not only important for Africa, but it’s important for how we’re going to feed the world by 2050. 65% of all uncultivated, arable land left in the world is in Africa,” he said.
According to Adesina, the future of global food security relies on making farming in Africa a profitable business. This must be coupled with developing local food processing that adds value to agricultural products, to help farmers get out of poverty.
He said helping Africa to get its agriculture right, is going to be a key part of securing food for the world.
Adesina said it’s important to show Africa’s rural youth that farming can be profitable. It can improve their lives and is a way to stem terrorist recruitment efforts.
He said he often thinks of the hundreds of millions of young, rural Africans whose opportunities are limited because of what is happening with agriculture.
Adesine believes making agriculture profitable so that families can give their children an education, is a key to breaking the cycle of poverty.
“So in a way for me this is not a job. This is a mission. And I believe that in getting agriculture to be a business – turning our rural areas from zones of economic misery to zones of economic opportunity – therein lies the future of Africa’s youth, especially those rural youths.”