President, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
Kanayo F. Nwanze began his term as IFAD’s fifth President on 1 April 2009. A Nigerian national, Nwanze has a strong record as an advocate and leader of change and a keen understanding of the complexity of development issues.
He brings to the job nearly 30 years of experience across three continents in poverty reduction through agriculture, rural development and research.
During his ten years as Director-General of the Africa Rice Centre (WARDA), Nwanze was instrumental in introducing and promoting New Rice for Africa (NERICA), a high-yield, drought- and pest-resistant rice variety developed specifically for the African landscape. By increasing the Centre’s human, capital and financial resources, he transformed WARDA from an association covering only countries in West Africa to an Africa-wide organization with an international reputation for excellence. He also held senior positions at a number of research centres affiliated with the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), where he promoted public- and private-sector partnerships. As Chair of the CGIAR’s Center Directors Committee, he drew on his leadership and negotiation skills to help align programmes and encourage shared services, leading to the establishment of the Alliance of CGIAR Centers.
Nwanze served as IFAD’s Vice-President for two years before taking the organization’s helm. During that time, he championed and led the implementation of key processes that have improved the quality of IFAD’s operations in developing countries.
He was elected President by delegates from IFAD’s 165 Member States in February 2009. In his acceptance statement Nwanze said, “Our challenge will be to make agriculture the central focus of governments, reduce poverty and hunger and achieve the Millennium Development Goals.”
Nwanze earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Science from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria in 1971, and a Doctorate in Agricultural Entomology from Kansas State University in the United States of America in 1975. He has published extensively, is a member of several scientific associations and has served on the executive boards of various institutions. He has received numerous prizes and awards.