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First Africa Food Prize Awarded to Courageous and Visionary Leader


The President of the Rome-based International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Dr. Kanayo F. Nwanze is the winner of the inaugural Africa Food Prize.

The $100, 000 prize package from the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) was launched by former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo in Accra, Ghana in July 2016 replacing the Yara Prize that was established in 2005.

It seeks to end hunger and poverty by empowering change-makers in the agricultural sector.

Dr. Nwaze was selected for both his outstanding individual leadership and for his passionate advocacy in putting Africa’s smallholder farmers at the centre of the global agricultural agenda as the head of IFAD.

Former President of Nigeria,HE Chief Olusegun Obasanjo said;

“Dr Nwanze is a model for how a great leader can make a difference in the lives of people on the ground. Whether that leader is the head of a global institution, a head of state or a head of small organization, Dr Nwanze’s accomplishments on behalf of African farmers are a reminder of what’s possible when you combine passion, good ideas, commitment, focus, hard work and dedication”.

IFAD is a specialized United Nations agency and International Financial Institution dedicated to eradicating rural poverty.

Dr.Nwaze has succeeded in growing the organization’s overall resources of loans and grants with significant increases in commitments from member states.

The Fund’s ongoing investments in Africa more than doubled from $1.3 billion at the start of his tenure at the helm in 2009 to $2.7 billion in 2015- benefitting over 75 million rural people.

Dr. Nwaze is also credited with reorienting IFAD’s work to focus more on making small-scale farming a viable business and expanding IFAD’s presence in developing countries to increase its effectiveness.

“I would like to dedicate this award to the millions of African women who silently toil to feed their families,” said Dr. Nwanze. “No nation has been able to transform itself without giving women the same rights and opportunities as men. Our hope for future generations rests with African women who bear and raise our young people who will shape the African continent in the years to come.”

He was also recognized for his courage in reminding African leaders to go beyond promising development and change to delivering it.

Dr. Agnes Kalibata, President, AGRA said, “By calling attention to the exemplary leadership of Kanayo Nwanze and to the compelling ideas that have guided him, we wish to encourage many others to follow in his footsteps and boldly use the opportunities available to them to change the reality of African farming- from a struggle to survive to a business that thrives.”

The award is co-funded by Yara International, a global fertilizer manufacturer that delivers crop nutrition programmes and sustainable solutions for agriculture; and spotlights achievements and innovations that can be replicated across Africa.

“The first Africa Food Prize recognizes an outstanding African leader who has dedicated his work to improve the lives for smallholder farmers. With 80 percent of farms run by smallholders, the key to transforming African agriculture lies in empowering the smallholder farmer, enabling rural value creation and providing jobs for rural youth,” said Svein Tore Holsether, President and CEO, Yara International.

Dr.Nwanze  received the Africa Food Prize on Wednesday September 7, 2016 at a gala dinner at the ongoing African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in Nairobi, Kenya.

IFAD President, Dr. Kanayo F. Nwanze, receiving the 2016 Africa Food Prize at AGRF gala dinner.

From left to right: Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Dr. Kanayo F. Nwanze, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo.

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