October 10, 2019: Former Commonwealth secretary general Emeka Anyaoku has presented the lifetime achievement award to Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), describing him and the bank's work as "legendary, unprecedented and worthy of emulation."

The African Development Bank (AfDB) president Akinwumi Adesina was presented Emeka Anyaoku award as the Outstanding International Icon Award by the Hallmarks of Labour Foundation at a ceremony held in Lagos, Nigeria.

The Hallmarks of Labour Foundation is a non-profit that recognises Africans who have achieved success through hard work, honesty, integrity, and justice in every field of human endeavour. Previous beneficiaries of the award include Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka.

Thanking the foundation for the recognition, Adesina said that the African Development Bank had helped 181 million people directly through its investments in the past four years.

"There is still much to do. We have gone some way, climbing the steep mountainside of Africa's development, yet there's still a long way to go until we reach the mountaintop," he said.

The Bank has connected 16 million people to electricity and provided 70 million people with improved agricultural technologies to achieve food security. AfDB also gave 9 million people access to finance from private sector companies, provided 55 million people access to improved transport, and 31 million people with water and sanitation.

Adesina congratulated his fellow awardees and urged them to be relentless in their efforts to build humanity.

"Recognition is never the expectation or endgame when you are passionate about your work. But when one's modest contributions and efforts are found worthy of honour, it is both a surprise and a delight," he noted.

Anyaoku of Nigeria served at Commonwealth from 1990 to 2000. During his stewardship, apartheid was peacefully replaced by non-racial democracy through a process which brought South Africa a degree of unity and reconciliation that the world found near miraculous. He organised a high-level Commonwealth group to attend the launching of the constitutional negotiations (the Convention for a Democratic South Africa), and sent Commonwealth Observer Missions, the first - over two years - to help combat political violence, and the second to assist in and monitor the historic 1994 elections.

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