President of African Development Bank (AfDB) president, Akinwunmi Adesina, has pledged to advance Africa’s fight against hunger, poverty and youth under-employment with the commitment of $500,000 prize money.
Both Adesina and co-Laureate Waris Dirie, a global champion against Female Genital Mutilation, shared the prestigious $1 prize at an award ceremony held on February 9, 2019 in Seoul, South Korea.
Adesina in a statement said his own $500,000 share of the prize would be used to fighting hunger in Africa, saying, “We are in a race with time to unlock the full potential of Africa.”
Known globally for his dogged determination to reduce global poverty, Adesina said, “My life is only useful to the extent that it helps to lift millions of people out of poverty.
“There is tremendous suffering going on in the world. While progress is being made, we are not winning the war on global hunger. There Cannot Be Peace in a World That Is Hungry. Hunger persists in regions and places going through conflicts, wars and fragility. Those who suffer the most are women and children,” Adesina said during the award ceremony.
On the other hand, Waris Dirie, the recipient of the award, has played a leading role in drawling global attention to the fight against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), and the need for legislation to ban the practice.
Dirie said, “Female Genital Mutilation scars victims physically, emotionally, and mentally.”
It would be noted that the World Health Organisation estimates that more than 200 million girls and women alive today have been cut in 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia where FGM is carried out on young girls between infancy and the age of 15.
Adesina reaffirmed his belief that a peaceful world would be a food secure world, pointed out that only 1 percent of the world’s richest own 50 percent of global wealth.
“Nothing is more important than ensuring that we feed the world and eliminate hunger and malnutrition. Hunger is an indictment on the human race. Any economy that claims growth without feeding its people is a failed economy. Nobody has to go hungry, white, black, pink, orange or any colour you can think,” Chawki Chahed, chief communications officer for the AfDB, quoted Adesina in the statement.
Speaking to global leaders after receiving the award, Adesina said, “There must be accountability to the poor. We must reduce global income inequality. We need wealth, yes, but we need wealth for everyone not just a few.
“Today, the poor are stuck and only end up eating crumbs, if any at all, that falls from the tables of the rich. This sense of exclusion and lack of equity or fairness often drives conflicts. We have an opportunity to reverse the situation through sustainable agriculture as a business, and not as an aid program.”
More than 1,000 influencers from over the world including current and former heads of state and government, private sector leaders, investors, and development experts, attended the SunHak Peace Prize and the Peace Summit of Global Leaders. Each year, the SunHak Peace Prize honours an individual or organisation making significant contributions to global peace and the welfare of mankind.
HARRISON EDEH, ABUJA