The Federal University of Technology Minna has awarded the President of the African Development Bank, Dr Akinwumi Adesina an honorary doctorate. The honor was conferred at the institution’s 38th Founders’ Day and 30th Convocation ceremony of the University, in Minna on Wednesday.
The graduation ceremonies were attended by the Sultan of Sokoto, the Etsu Nupe, traditional rulers, public officials, business and political leaders, and several dignitaries from across Nigeria.
On the occasion, Adesina underlined President Muhammadu Buhari’s role in supporting his election as president of the African Development Bank.
“I am especially grateful to H.E. General AbdulsalamAbubakar, who took me under his wings and lobbied extremely hard for me when I was seeking election for President of the African Development Bank in 2015. General Abdusalam spoke with then President-elect Muhammadu Buhari, who in turn provided me with strong support. He also reached out to President Goodluck Jonathan and former Vice President #AtikuAbubakar to rally support behind me. You have been a key part of my success. I wish to acknowledge this publicly and thank you most sincerely. Your Excellency, I am grateful, Sir.”
President Buhari strongly supported Adesina, leading up to his second term re-election in September 2020.
Adesina spoke about his experience as a former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development.
“Technology drives the world. As Minister of Agriculture, I turned to the power of technology and mobile phones to provide 15 million farmers with access to improved seeds and to end corruption in the sector. It was revolutionary – the first, not only in Africa but in the world. It helped Nigeria to produce a record-breaking 21 million metric tons of food. It boosted food security and expanded wealth for farmers, from the north east, north west, north central, southwest, east, and south-south of the country. It brought transparency and accountability into the use of public funds.”
“As the new success stories of Nigeria, you stand on the brink of opportunities, having been prepared for success by a university focused on technology.”
Several Nigerian Fintech entrepreneurs are raising millions of dollars using tech to deliver digital payment systems. Three Nigerian fintech companies (Intersswitch, Pay Pal, and Flutterwave), have reached the $1 billion mark.
Adesina said African Fintechs raised $1.4 billion in 2019, three times what was raised in 2019. Two years later in 2021, they raised about $5 billion.
The Bank president highlighted the major role played by technology for enhancing security systems, military reconnaissance, and intelligence, as well as satellite imagery and remote sensing to track the effects of climate change. In addition, the use of drones to deliver agricultural inputs and medical supplies to remote locations.
On a humorous note, Adesina noted that, “cognitive robots now power industrial manufacturing. In the very near future, due to machine learning and artificial intelligence, your colleagues in the office or industry will not be just Musa, Emeka, Yetunde, or Ada, but Yekini Jones or Bobo – the robots. Through facial recognition, Yekini and Bobo, the robots will greet you every morning, saying “Hello Musa, Emeka, Yetunde, and Ada. And you will say, “Hello Yekini, Hello Bobo. Let’s roll.”
“The African Development Bank is preparing the youth of Africa to lead in the new digital economy. We have just provided $170 million to Nigeria to help drive its I-DICE initiative that will help expand the digital industry and grow jobs in the creative industries,” Adesina informed the gathering.
Adesina gave a charge to the graduates, “You have been shaped in Minna for export to other parts of Nigeria, Africa, and the world. Build a New Nigeria. A smart Nigeria. A dynamic Nigeria. A globally competitive Nigeria. It is in your hands. Now go and make it happen! I wish you good success and God’s richest blessings. Congratulations!”
Following the convocation ceremony, Adesina and his wife Yemisi paid courtesy calls on former Heads of State General Ibrahim Gbadamosi Babangida and General Abdulsalam Abubakar.