By Akanimo Sampson
Chairman of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Board of Trustees, Dr Amos Namanga Ngongi, says the Institute under the leadership of its Director-General, Dr Nteranya Sanginga, has expanded its programmes to scale up delivery.
Lauding the Institute’s leadership and a proven record of accomplishment in agricultural research during a spring board meeting, which took place recently, the chair said IITA’s budget has equally doubled.
During the virtual meeting, he pointed out that the Institute has achieved excellent results in several areas, both financially and programmatically.
While highlighting the critical period the Institute is going through with the COVID-19 pandemic, Ngongi adds that IITA’s key funders have recognised the Institute’s leadership in areas such as breeding, agronomy, roots and tubers, legumes, and sustainable intensification. He reiterated the need to protect IITA’s staff and assets as a top priority in the Board’s decisions.
Sanginga’s presentation on the remaining one and a half years of his tenure, is focusing on the structures put in place to ensure that the Institute is positioned to address the needs of the continent over the next 10 years while making sure that staff confidence is maintained throughout the transition to a new leadership without disruption.
The presentation highlighted key areas being addressed within the Institute’s system and programs such as full alignment with the unified system of governance and business plan of the One-CGIAR as it relates to research, country and regional alignment, and partnerships for delivery.
He also notes the importance of resource mobilisation with a focus on development banks and country loans, securing IITA as a preferred technical assistance partner, as well as expansion to new sources of funding to include the private sector and non-traditional donors.
In addition, he spoke about updating and strengthening the
Institute’s financial systems and procedures with automation fully implemented
and phased succession planning of staff to key positions in the Institute.
Taking charge of his last meeting as an IITA Trustee, Ngongi said IITA’s key funders have given strong assurance of continued support and are, without exception, fully behind the One CGIAR and its long-term vision of a unified system for effective collaboration among centres.
They also expressed their support for governance under a One-CGIAR system and its vision of a unified system and governance under a centralised board.
While looking at the impact of COVID-19 on the Institute’s financial and human resources in 2020 and the various scenarios for cost reduction during the Board meeting, as donor funding maybe diverted to issues related to the pandemic, IITA is aggressively pursuing alternative sources of funding to address any shortfalls that may occur.
Several Committees gave presentations during the virtual meeting–on audit and finance, programs, and human resources. The Governance Committee Trustees selected Bruno Delvaux to succeed Christian Borgemeister as Program Committee Chair and Rhoda Tumusiime to succeed Josephine Okot as Human Resource Committee Chair. Christian Borgemeister will succeed Namanga Ngongi as Board Chair.
By July 1, an Executive Management Team will be appointed to lead and be collectively responsible for managing the Transition to One-CGIAR, which will take place between this coming July 1 and December 31.
The One-CGIAR Board will be appointed by September 2020. All centres will transition to governance by the One-CGIAR Board from October 1.