Professor Adebayo Adedeji is the founding Executive Director of the African Centre for Development and Strategic Studies, a non-profit think tank based in Nigeria, which he established in 1991 after retiring from the United Nations. He served as the Chairperson of the African Peer Review Mechanism, an initiative on good governance of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). Prior to these functions, Professor Adedeji had a distinguished academic, diplomatic and political career, serving his native country, Nigeria, and the international community for over four decades.
In the early 1970s, as Nigeria’s Cabinet Minister for Economic Development and Reconstruction, Professor Adedeji was pivotal in the establishment of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). From 1984 to 1991, he was the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General on Africa’s Economic Crisis, in addition to his responsibilities as the Executive Secretary and Under-Secretary-General of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). Since 1998, he has been a member of the Advisory Board of the United Nations African Futures Project, sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme, the World Bank, ECA and the African Development Bank. In 2002, he was appointed Nigeria’s Special Envoy to Zimbabwe.
Professor Adedeji received the International Gold Mercury Award in 1982 and the Arthur Houghton Star Crystal Award of the African-American Institute in 1991. In further recognition of his services to Africa and humanity, he was made an Honorary Citizen of the Republic of Namibia in March 1997 and received national honours from eight African countries.
At the age of 36, Professor Adedeji was offered tenure at the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University. He received a Ph.D. in Economics from London University in 1967, an M.P.A. from Harvard University in 1961 and a B.Sc. in Economics from University College in Leicester in 1958. In addition, Professor Adedeji has been awarded eight honorary degrees from various academic institutions and was named as one of the 50 most influential thinkers on development.