|Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Akinwumi Adesina.|
By Judy Nguta (@JudyNguta)
Nairobi, Kenya: The 2013 Forbes Africa person of the year award has gone to Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Akinwumi Adesina.
Adesina’s initiatives in agriculture have empowered about six million farmers across Nigeria to embrace modern day agriculture.
In January, Mr Adesina announced a scheme to hand out 10 million mobile phones to farmers to "drive an agriculture revolution" so they can find out the latest market information.
In his acceptance speech, Adesina said "my goal is to make as many millionaires, maybe even billionaires, from agriculture as possible."
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The Person of the Year award ceremony took place on Monday at a Nairobi Hotel and it is meant to celebrate “the individual who, for better or worse, has had the most influence on events of the year gone by”.
Forbes Africa’s managing editor Chris Bishop said presenting the award in Nairobi was an honour especially as the country is celebrating Golden Jubilee.
“It was an honour to present this award in Kenya, for the first time, in the month of the country’s 50th birthday. Akinwumi Adesina was considered a worthy winner by the judges as he is a man on a mission to help Africa feed itself. We hope it will encourage the rest of the continent to grow more of its own food,” said Bishop.
Last year’s award which went to Equity bank CEO James Mwangi was presented in Nigeria.
“Last year, we presented a Kenyan with the award in Nigeria – this year it was the other way round, which shows how much Forbes Africa is pan African,” said Bishop.
Mwangi was honoured for playing a central role in making Equity Bank the largest bank in East and Central Africa. He has also played a crucial role in ensuring banking services, including loans, are available to low income people who had in the past been left out of banking services.
The other finalists for the Forbes Africa Person of The Year 2013 were Aliko Dangote (founder and president, Dangote Group), Patrice Motsepe (founder and executive chairman of African Rainbow Minerals), Strive Masiyiwa (founder of global telecoms group, Econet Wireless) and Jim Ovia (founder of Zenith Bank Group).
During the ceremony, Manu Chandaria (founder of East African industry conglomerate, Comcraft Group of Companies) was conferred a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Forbes recognised his establishment of the East Africa Business Council asa driving force in the rollout of the East African Community.