…Hailed for Visionary Leadership, Contribution to Science, Research
African Development Bank’s (AfDB) President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina has bagged an Honorary Doctorate from one of Africa’s oldest and most respected universities, Makerere University, Uganda.
Adesina was recognised for his “distinguished contribution to science, research and academic leadership, reform and thought leadership.”
Receiving the doctorate at a ceremony in Uganda, Adesina lauded Makerere for its drive towards innovation, while recounting how the university had been part of the transformation of Uganda’s food sector.
“It is such good news to join the roster of your distinguished honorary graduates of Makerere. Makerere is close to my heart. Makerere University is known for innovation,” Adesina said.
The AfDB’s President recalled how an earlier conversation with Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni, 20 years ago, led to a famous invention.
Back then, Adesina was Associate Director at the Rockefeller Foundation. Museveni had sought his advice to deal with the country’s banana glut.
That conversation eventually led to a relationship with Makerere University’s food technology department, which developed a method to transform bananas into shelf-stable flour that could be used to prepare the local staple dish, matooke.
Against this backdrop, Adesina called for more investment in science and technology to cope with the fourth industrial revolution, marked by advances in artificial intelligence, big data, robotics, nanotechnology and biotechnology.
“University education is the most critical thing that any society should do, and when it comes to Africa, you find that not more than 9 percent of our population has access to tertiary education,” he said earlier, during a meeting the university’s Chairperson of Council, Lorna Magara.
Adesina also revealed that the university’s name, Makerere, meant “megaphone of good news” in his home language, Yoruba.
On his part, the Vice-Chancellor of the university, Professor Barnabas Nawangwe, lauded the AfDB for aiding the modernization and building of laboratories in Makerere University.
This, he said, had enabled the university to produce vaccines and medicines, including the anti-tick vaccine and diagnostics to manage COVID-19 and other diseases, as well as the low-cost medical ventilator, Bulamu.
Nawangwe told Adesina, “Makerere University has also benefited from your visionary leadership in the various positions you have held in different organizations.”
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