In June, the World Food Prize announced African Development Bank President Akinwumi A. Adesina as the 2017 Laureate for his work in improving the availability of seed, fertilizer and financing for African farmers, and for laying the foundation for the youth in Africa to engage in agriculture as a profitable business.
Known as the ‘Nobel Prize for Agriculture’, the World Food Prize was founded by Nobel Peace Prize-winner Norman Borlaug and is considered the foremost international honour recognizing the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world. The Prize is presented each October on or around UN World Food Day (October 16) in a ceremony in the Iowa State capital of Des Moines.
The World Food Prize has become a week-long set of events drawing over 1,200 participants from more than 65 countries to address issues related to global food security and nutrition. In addition to the Laureate Award Ceremony, the World Food Prize series of events include the Borlaug Dialogue International Symposium; Iowa Hunger Summit; Laureate Lecture Series; and presentation of the Dr. Norman Borlaug Award for Field Research and Application, endowed by the Rockefeller Foundation.
The Norman E. Borlaug International Symposium, also known as the “Borlaug Dialogue”, takes place from October 18-20, 2017 in Des Moines. African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina is leading the Bank delegation to Iowa and will deliver the Norman Borlaug Lecture, “Betting on Africa to Feed the World”, on October 16, World Food Day, at Iowa State University. He will be awarded the 2017 World Food Prize on the evening of October 19 and delivers the Laureate Address at a luncheon the following day.
Under President Adesina’s leadership, the AfDB is accelerating agricultural development through its Feed Africa Strategy with planned investment of US $24 billion over the next 10 years. The prize also recognizes Adesina’s work over the past two decades with the Rockefeller Foundation, at the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), and as Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture of Agriculture and Rural Development.
On October 18, the Bank President is speaking at a side event on “Making Farming Cool: Investing in Future African Farmers and Agripreneurs”. The event showcases the convergence of agriculture and youth employment. The session will draw attention to the role of policy, governance and technology in accelerating sustainable economic growth.
A number of young African agricultural entrepreneurs, or ‘Agripreneurs’, supported under the Empowering Novel Agri-Business-Led Employment (ENABLE) Youth program of the AfDB, will join a discussion on expanding economic opportunities for Africa’s youth through agriculture.
The President will address a session on the Transformation of the African Savanah Initiative (TASI), an AfDB programme to bring additional 1.6 million hectares of land under cultivation to double maize, soyabean and livestock production in eight African countries – Ghana, Guinea, Uganda, Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Mozambique and Zambia.
The President will also join key nutrition actors, private sector representatives, policy-makers and thought leaders at a Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition plenary session to push for mutual accountability on leadership, governance and investments for nutrition.