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African Development Bank picks Nigeria’s Adesina as its new president

May 29, 2015, 11:02 AM

Akinwumi Adesina, Nigeria’s minister of agriculture and rural planning will succeed Rwanda’s Donald Kaberuka as the next president of The African Development Bank (AfDB).

In a tweet, he expressed gratitude for becoming only the 8th person to occupy the role.

Dr. Adesina won over 60% of the vote, overcoming challenges from the former Chad minister of finance Kordjé Bedoumra and Cristina Duarte of Cape Verde, also a finance minister.

Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, now has one of her own leading the continent’s most influential financial institution. The board of the AfDB has been reluctant in the past to elect as its leader representatives from the region’s bigger economies, choosing presidents from some of the smaller countries. It was their way of counteracting the potential dominance of the big nations. With Adesina’s selection, the AfDB has bucked that trend.

Adesina, 55, is an agricultural economist and takes over the role at a time of considerable promise for Africa. During his campaign for the post, he was vocal about wanting to make sure the AfDB is more inclusive. He was keen to talk up agriculture’s potential role in helping to eradicate poverty on the continent. The timing is fortuitous for Adesina as a new government takes over in his home country of Nigeria tomorrow (May 29). He would have likely have had to step down as agriculture minister regardless of the AfDB election outcome.

The question is: Will bow ties now be “de rigueur” at the AfDB?