The World Food Prize and Ivanka's India tour: This week in development

Akinwumi Adesina, 2017 World Food Prize laureate. Photo by: AfDB Group

The U.K. puts trade at the center of its post-Brexit development agenda, Ivanka Trump gets an invite to India for GES 2017, and Nikki Haley defends U.S. policies. This week in development.

Akinwumi Adesina was awarded the 2017 World Food Prize for his efforts to expand agricultural production in Nigeria and to focus attention on nutrition and childhood stunting. The president of the African Development Bank and former Nigerian minister of agriculture played a key role in founding the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Rockefeller Foundation-funded Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa — or AGRA — which aims to transform Africa’s agricultural system. The organization’s name pays homage to the original “green revolution,” which saw fertilizer and technological inputs boost crop yields in developing countries. Norman Borlaug, the “father of the green revolution,” founded the World Food Prize in 1986. In his acceptance speech, the AfDB president stressed the need to ensure farming can function as a viable business in Africa. “We must give hope and turn agriculture into a business all across Africa to create wealth for African economies. The World Food Prize gives me an even greater global platform to make that future happen much faster for Africa,” Adesina said at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C.

The first clues to how the United Kingdom will treat developing countries after it exits the European Union emerged this week, as the U.K. government committed to maintaining duty-free, quota-free trade preferences with the 48 least developed countries, and also pledged to craft similar, or better, preferences for other developing countries that want to export to the U.K. The U.K. Department for International Development took the opportunity to offer details as to how its new economic development strategy will fit into the ongoing trade negotiations and efforts to improve trade prospects for low- and middle-income countries.

Ivanka Trump will represent the United States at the 2017 Global Entrepreneurship Summit, which will take place in India in the fall. During Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the United States, he and President Trump announced that Ivanka — the president’s daughter and special advisor — will lead the U.S. delegation to an event considered a legacy item from President Obama’s tenure. There had been some doubt as to whether Trump would maintain U.S. participation in the GES, which convenes entrepreneurs and investors from around the world in an effort to boost economic opportunity. Ivanka Trump has emerged as the administration’s most visible advocate for women’s entrepreneurship. She has also cooperated with the World Bank in its launch of a fund for women entrepreneurs.

United Nations leaders took a break from Turtle Bay and made their way to Washington, D.C., this week. U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres held closed-door meetings with lawmakers — and reportedly also with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., offered a public — at times defensive — update on her past five months at the U.N. during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing. Haley doubled-down on some of the controversial health and climate policy reversals President Trump has made in office so far, questioning the regulations the Paris Climate Accord would have imposed on the United States, and reiterating a false claim that the U.N. Population Fund engages in forced sterilization work in China. She also reiterated her commitment to women and girls’ health, and said the U.S. mission is carefully reviewing the work of every single U.N. agency.

Mark Dybul has been tapped to lead a new Center for Global Health and Quality at the Georgetown University Medical Center. The former executive director of the Global Fund to Fight HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria stepped down last month after his first, four-year term. Dybul also led PEPFAR — the U.S. global HIV program — under President George W. Bush. The new center will apply a multidisciplinary approach to global health challenges, drawing on courses in health care, big data, service delivery, economics, program design, private sector, international relations, law and management, according to a university press release. Dybul is credited with returning the Global Fund to financial and programmatic success after a management and oversight crisis threatened the organization’s reputation and solvency five years ago. He also played a key role in the design and implementation of PEPFAR, which remains the largest U.S. global health initiative to date.

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About the author

  • Michael Igoe

    Michael Igoe is a Senior Reporter with Devex, based in Washington, D.C. He covers U.S. foreign aid, global health, climate change, and development finance. Prior to joining Devex, Michael researched water management and climate change adaptation in post-Soviet Central Asia, where he also wrote for EurasiaNet. Michael earned his bachelor's degree from Bowdoin College, where he majored in Russian, and his master’s degree from the University of Montana, where he studied international conservation and development.