Prepare for the agriculture of tomorrow, African Development Bank President challenges high school students at global symposium


Young people from around the world gathered in Des Moines Iowa at the Global Youth Institute ( on Thursday to interact with Nobel and World Food Prize laureates.

This year, 450 exceptional high school students from 10 countries attended the three-day Global Youth Institute ( hosted by the World Food Prize Foundation to facilitate discussion on pressing food security and agricultural issues.

The director of youth leadership development at the World Food Prize Foundation, Kelsey Tyrrell, told the young audience that African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina had been invited because of his advocacy and promotion of agriculture as a career for young people.

“After winning the World Food Prize in 2017, he dedicated his prize money to youth empowerment programmes. We wanted you to know that you have the power to make global change, and Adesina knows the incredible power that young people have,” Kelsey said.

The African Development Bank is committed to ensuring that Africa’s agriculture is digitally enabled and has launched the Digital Solutions for African Agriculture program, which supports governments and the private sector.

Digital Solutions for African Agriculture program supports the public and private sector to introduce and scale-up transformative digital solutions.  This includes super platforms for e-registries, e-extension, soil information maps, e-commerce and digital marketplaces for agri-inputs and outputs, tracking and traceability systems, and e-Agri-governance.

The Bank is implementing programs that harness the power of technology to drive the future of agriculture, such as using drones to survey fields and monitor harvests.

“Building the food industry of tomorrow requires that we build the leaders of those industries today. The opportunities offered by the Global Youth Institute are intended to construct for you the highway to becoming tomorrow’s leaders of the food and agriculture industry,” the Bank President told the students.

Adesina is the 2017 World Food Prize Laureate.

“Digitisation will attract more young people like you into agriculture. Agriculture is really where you want to be,” he said.

Former President of Nigeria Olusegun Obasanjo attended the morning session.

On Wednesday night, Adesina hosted a dinner in honour of the President of the World Food Prize Foundation, Kenneth Quinn, who is retiring from the organization.

Quinn described the Bank’s work as transformative.

Also speaking at the dinner, the 2002 World Food Prize Laureate, Pedro Sanchez, commended the Bank for its work in agriculture, comparing it to that of Norman Borlaug, Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1970 and founder of the World Food Prize.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Development Bank Group (AfDB).