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June 28th, 2017 /

Making agriculture profitable and “cool” for young people in Africa is key to lifting millions out of poverty and stemming migration to Europe, said the president of the African Development Bank (AfDB).

Akinwumi Adesina was named the winner of this year’s World Food Prize on Monday for his decades-long work to boost food production in his native Nigeria, increase access to credit for small farmers across Africa and transform the continent’s agriculture.

Kenneth Quinn, president of the Des Moines, Iowa-based World Food Prize Foundation, said the $250,000 award reflected Adesina’s “breakthrough achievements” as Nigeria’s minister of agriculture and his critical role in the development of the nonprofit Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa.

Adesina, 57, told Reuters he was humbled by the award but felt his work to ensure Africa could feed itself was “uncompleted business.”

Almost 30 percent of the 795 million people in the world who do not have enough to eat are in Africa, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.

“When I look at Africa today, I see that many rural areas unfortunately have become zones of economic misery,” Adesina said in a phone interview ahead of the award’s announcement.

No sector has greater potential to revive those areas than agriculture, but investments are needed to make it attractive for young people, many of whom risk their lives migrating in search of better opportunities in Europe, Adesina said. Read more