Nigeria’s former Minister of Agriculture and present President of African Development Bank Group (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina, has been conferred with an honorary doctorate of science degree by the University of Alberta, Canada.
Adesina disclosed this in a tweet which read, “It was such a great honor to receive an honorary Doctorate of Science degree yesterday from the world famous University of Alberta, Canada. I enjoyed speaking with the graduating class of 2019: “now go out and change the world”! @UAlberta @AfDB_Group.”
The University, in a statement released on its website, had earlier listed Adesina among the honorary degree recipients for 2019 spring convocation; specifically stating that he would receive “an honorary doctor of science degree June 4 at 3 p.m.”
He was one of the “thirteen exceptional honorees” who “will offer words of wisdom at graduation ceremonies this June,” the statement added.
Adesina who is President of the AfDB Group has dedicated his life to helping feed Africa and reduce poverty, especially among women and children. For more than 30 years, he has spearheaded policies to increase investment in agriculture and give millions of farmers access to financing and credit, improved seeds, and fertilizers.
As Minister of Agriculture in Nigeria from 2010-2015, he ended decades of corruption in the fertilizer industry, brought in new rice breed that helped the country become self-sufficient and developed innovative “e-wallet” system that provided microloans directly to more than 15 million farmers using their mobile phones.
Adesina had been appointed in 2010 as one of the 17 global leaders to galvanize international support for the UN Millennial Development Goals.
He had also received the top international award in agriculture, the World Food Prize, in 2017.
Those also honoured include Sarah Jerome, a Gwich’in Elder; Carman McNary, an Edmonton leader; Vivian Manasc, co-founder of Manasc Isaac; Martin Garber-Conrad, CEO of Edmonton Community Foundation; Caroline Jenner, CEO of JA (Junior Achievement) Europe.
Others are Allan Goodman, president of the Institute of International Education (IIE); Carol Cass, a professor emerita; Cyril Kay, one of world’s pre-eminent protein biochemists; Francis Whiskeyjack, a Cree Elder; Chief Justice Mary Moreau, first female chief justice of the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench; Esi Edugyan, a Canadian author; and Allan Gordon Bell, global classical composer.