The African Development Bank Group is pleased to announce the appointment of Ms. Atsuko Toda as Director for Agricultural Finance and Rural Development with effect from 1st December 2016.
Ms. Atsuko Toda, Japanese, is an experienced manager and expert in the field of rural and agricultural finance, with extensive experience in rural development. She joins the Bank from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), where she worked for close to twenty years on rural development and financing in Asia and Africa.
She was the Country Director for Nigeria for IFAD, where she managed a large portfolio of investments in rural development, accelerating the access of farmers to new technologies, finance and markets.
Ms. Toda is a passionate, dynamic and consummate rural development expert, with solid on-the-ground field experience of working in rural communities. She brings extensive field and operational experience.
Since joining IFAD in 1997, Ms. Toda held several positions in different countries including Bangladesh, Nepal, Laos and Vietnam. She brings strong portfolio management experience, with particular focus on turning around problematic projects. While in Vietnam, IFAD's rural development and finance operations in rural communities grew from just one province to operate in eleven provinces of the Northern, Central, Highland and Mekong Delta regions. During this expansion, rural communities were linked to markets and rural finance. She also decentralized project implementation to the provinces, boosting rural economies, an achievement that earned the IFAD Country programme a special recognition of contribution from the Government of Vietnam. She is also credited for building strong linkages with the private sector in agriculture, transitioning country programmes from an emphasis on integrated rural development and community infrastructure, towards a portfolio of innovative market-oriented solutions involving private sector actors.
In Nigeria, where she worked for IFAD for four years (2012-2016), she built a reputation for promoting strong partnerships with Government and other development partners. She is credited for setting up and leading the Agriculture Sector Donor Working Group, which has become the platform for constructive dialogue between partners in the sector and the Government on agriculture. She more than doubled the portfolio size of IFAD in rural communities, while building strong partnerships with private sector food processing and manufacturing companies to provide market access to farmers.
Ms Toda holds a Bachelor's Degree in Sociology, with specialization in multi-cultural societies, from the Doshisha University of Kyoto, Japan; a Diploma in Developmental Studies from Cambridge University, United Kingdom; and a Masters' Degree in Public Administration, with specialization in rural finance, from the International Christian University, Tokyo, Japan.
Speaking about Ms. Toda's appointment, the President of the African Development Bank, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina said: "Ms. Toda brings extensive operations' management experience in the fields of rural and agricultural finance and rural development. She combines practical field experience in rural communities, with expertise in building strong institutions to support rural communities and linking farmers to markets to improve their incomes and livelihoods. Atsuko's passion and down-to-earth pragmatic approaches will help to advance the work of the Bank in support of rural economies to achieve inclusive growth".