West Lafayette – Purdue University awards two honorary doctorate degrees during spring commencement ceremonies in the West Lafayette campus.
Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina, Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture, and William “Bill” Dudley Jr., president and CEO of the Bechtel Group, are the 2015 honorees. Both Adesina and Dudley are Purdue alumni.
Adesina received his honorary Doctor of Agriculture degree on Friday (May 15) ceremony. While conferring the award on Adesina, the President of Purdue University, Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. paid tributes to Adesina for his exemplary performance as a minister, which earned him recognition as one of the honorees.
Dr. Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina – Doctor of Agriculture
Dr. Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina is Nigeria’s Honorable Minister of Agriculture, and the country’s governor and board member of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). After earning his masters and doctorate degrees in agricultural economics from Purdue, Dr. Adesina dedicated his career to improving the agricultural sector in Africa.
Since his appointment as Minister of Agriculture in 2011, Dr. Adesina has flipped Nigeria’s agriculture sector from one of subsistence farming into a viable business for the country’s farmers. He halted a 40-year pattern of corruption in the country’s fertilizer sector by developing and implementing an innovative electronic wallet system, which directly provides farmers with farm subsidies via their mobile phones. To date, this system has dramatically transformed the lives of 14.5 million Nigerian farmers. Under Dr. Adesina’s leadership, Nigeria’s food production has expanded by 21 million metric tons, and the country has received $5.6 billion in private sector investments in agriculture
Previously, Dr. Adesina served as vice president for policy and partnerships at the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). Working with Heads of State and finance ministers, leaders of the commercial banking industry, and central bank governors across several African countries, Dr. Adesina successfully led one of the largest global efforts to leverage domestic bank finance ($4 billion) for the continent’s agricultural sector.
Prior to joining AGRA in 2008, he served as associate director and then regional director for the Southern Africa Office of the Rockefeller Foundation for more than a decade. He also served on the Technical Board of the Forum for African Women Educationalists, as a principal economist for the West Africa Rice Development Association, senior economist and social science coordinator for the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture, and assistant principal economist for the International Crops Research Institute for the Semiarid Tropics.
Dr. Adesina is a prolific writer, with more than 70 scholarly publication credits on policy, agricultural development and African development topics, and has served on the editorial boards of several academic journals. Dr. Adesina also serves on the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition, launched at the 2013 G8 Food and Nutrition Summit.
He has received numerous awards for his work, including the Outstanding Black Agricultural Economist award from the American Association of Agricultural Economists; the prestigious YARA prize in Oslo, Norway; Commander of the Order of Niger, the country’s second highest honor; the Distinguished Alumni Award from Purdue University; and, most recently, the Forbes Africa Person of the Year award in 2013.
Dr. Adesina earned his bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from the University of Ife in Nigeria in 1981. He has lived and worked extensively in 15 African countries throughout West, East and Southern Africa.