Kanayo Nwanze

On 13 February 2013, Kanayo F. Nwanze was appointed by acclamation as President of IFAD for a second four-year term. A Nigerian national, Nwanze has a strong record as an advocate and leader with a keen understanding of complex development issues. He brings to the job over 35 years of experience across three continents, focusing on poverty reduction through agriculture, rural development and research.

Under Nwanze’s guidance, IFAD has stepped up its advocacy efforts to ensure that agriculture is a central part of the international development agenda, and that governments recognize the concerns of smallholder farmers and other poor rural people. As an intellectual leader on issues of food security, Nwanze has been a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Food Security since 2010, and formerly chaired the group.

During Nwanze’s tenure, IFAD has increased the number of outposted country programme managers and country offices. This heightened field presence enhances IFAD’s direct supervision of its projects, benefiting Member States, partner institutions and project participants alike. As a result, IFAD has become a valued and results-focused international development partner, is delivering a much larger programme of loans and grants, and extending its reach to more people.

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, or 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 to an Africa-wide organization with a global reputation for excellence.

In addition, Nwanze has held senior positions at research centres affiliated with the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) in Africa and Asia, and played a key role in establishing the Alliance of CGIAR Centers as a vehicle for collective action.

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 various executive boards. Nwanze has received numerous honours and awards from governments and international institutions – including Commander of the National Order of Merit of Côte d’Ivoire, Officer of the National Order of Benin and National Order of Agricultural Merit of France – as well as academic acknowledgements, including Doctor of Science, honoris causa, from McGill University, Canada.