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 over 30 years of experience across three continents in poverty reduction through agriculture, rural development and research.
Under Nwanze’s leadership, IFAD has stepped up its advocacy efforts to ensure that agriculture is a central part of the international development agenda, and that the concerns and needs of smallholders and other poor rural people are recognized by governments around the world. In recognition of Nwanze’s intellectual leadership on issues of food security, he was asked to chair the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Food Security in 2010.
During Nwanze’s tenure, IFAD has increased the number of outposted country programme managers and expanded the number of country offices. This increased country presence, and the direct supervision by IFAD of its projects, will help make them more effective.
Nwanze served as IFAD’s Vice-President for two years before taking the organization’s helm. Prior to that, he was Director-General of the Africa Rice Center for a decade. 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. He also transformed the Center from a West African association to an Africa-wide organization with an international reputation for excellence.
In addition, Nwanze has held senior positions at a number of research centres affiliated with the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) in Africa and Asia, and he was instrumental in the establishment of the Alliance of CGIAR Centers.
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, United States, in 1975.
He has published extensively, is a member of several scientific associations and has served on the executive boards of various institutions.
Nwanze has received numerous honours and awards from governments and international institutions, including Commander of the National Order of Merit of Côte d’Ivoire and Officer of the National Order of Benin.