Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina was named today as the 2017 laureate of the World Food Prize. Adesina has served as president of the African Development Bank since 2015, which works to promote sustainable economic development across the continent. Adesina has been referred to as the "Norman Borlaug of Africa," and has been involved with major policy reform for decades.

Born and raised in Ebadam, Nigeria, Adesina attended the University of Ife in Nigeria, where he studied agricultural economics. Throughout his career, Adesina aided in the development various projects, including the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), a joint project founded by the Rockefeller Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Adesina persuaded banks to invest directly in independent farmers in their countries, leveraging $50 million in funding from Kenya's largest bank to sustain the program and another $100 million across the rest of Africa. 

Following the success of the AGRA program, Adesina was appointed minister of agriculture in Nigeria, where he introduced the Nigerian Incentive Based Risk Sharing for Agricultural Lending, through which he negotiated $3.5 billion worth of support and funding for agribusinesses in the region. Adesina also implemented an E-Wallet system that provided subsidized vouchers for farmers directly to their mobile devices they could use to purchase fertilizer and seed.

The World Food Prize includes an award of $250,000. It will be presented to Adesina in October in Des Moines, home of the World Food Prize headquarters.