Another year has come and flown past. The year 2016 marks an important milestone for me as the DG of IITA. The board renewed my term for another five years and I gladly accepted after some soul searching. During my first term, we achieved a lot together―we saw IITA’s budget increase threefold and so did the number of staff. The Business Incubation Platform was established to attract the private sector to take up and widely disseminate our technologies and the Youth Agripreneurs program was successfully launched, first in Nigeria and then in nearly all the countries we are working in.
Staff morale was high. Therefore, I had wondered if there was anything new I could do for the Institute to keep me engaged and interested to build on these achievements and keep the momentum. And yes, there was―the two mega initiatives in which we are partnering with the Africa Development Bank to transform Africa’s agriculture. These are TAAT (Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation) and ENABLE Youth (Empowering Novel Agri-Business-Led Employment).
This year was significant for the two initiatives. We held meetings with our partners to plan for them and many countries are ready to roll them out. Through TAAT all the mature and proven technologies from CGIAR centers will be scaled out for wider adoption and impact and through ENABLE Youth major initiatives to attract youth to agriculture and tackle unemployment will be implemented. IITA is playing a major role in these two initiatives.
Next year will be another significant year as we mark our 50th anniversary. We will be celebrating our successes and hard work as we pledge to do even more to transform Africa’s agriculture. We are no longer just nourishing Africa, we are transforming Africa. This is now our new tagline in our logo. We have also adjusted our management structure accordingly, creating a new directorate for Partnerships for Delivery to deliver on our vision. And I am really excited about the future of IITA and looking forward to 2017 in particular. I hope you all are.
I therefore thank each and every one of you for your hard work and commitment to the Institute. I hope you will spend some quality time with your family and friends this festive season and be ready to take on 2017 with renewed vigor and commitment. I wish you and your families a happy and prosperous 2017.
Kenton Dashiell, DDG P4D
Happy holidays and a joyful and prosperous new year to you all! Go ahead: celebrate and enjoy yourselves! You deserve it.
At IITA we have many achievements to celebrate in 2016 and a lot more to look forward to in 2017. We saw the Partnerships and Capacity Development directorate change to become Partnerships for Delivery. This is because we need to pay as much attention to the delivery of our technologies for impact as we do to generating them! The Directorate will be working closely with the Research-for=Development directorate to ensure that our innovations are packaged and delivered to the right people at the right time and in the right way for wide-scale adoption and greater impact.
At IITA we have an ambitious goal of lifting 11.5 million people out of poverty. We cannot achieve it on our own; we need to work with and through partners and especially the private sector. We will need new partners even as we strengthen our collaboration with existing ones.
Our main vehicles for disseminating technologies will be through TAAT and ENABLE Youth. In 2016 we laid the groundwork for these two initiatives and many of you worked very hard on this. In 2017 we are ready to hit the road running in many African
countries and we are counting on your collaboration as well. Our partner, the AfDB, is very committed to seeing that these initiatives succeed and so is the IITA management to make sure hat we achieve our goal of transforming Africa’s agriculture. Many other donors and governments are also very interested.
The Youth Agripreneurs program, another avenue to disseminate our technologies, has also continued to grow beyond our expectations. Our youth colleagues in the Youth-in-Agribusiness program are doing an amazing job of demonstrating that agriculture is indeed the future for Africa’s youth. We are very proud of them.
Once again thank you for all your support throughout the year, for all your hard work and commitment to IITA. Thanks to Dr Sanginga for his excellent leadership and for accepting to be our DG for another five-year term.
Ylva Hillbur, DDG R4D
It’s hard to believe that shortly we will be closing the curtains on 2016 to usher in 2017. It was only the other day that we were celebrating a new year. For IITA’s Research for Development, 2016 was a very good year. We grew tremendously―many new, major projects were started and many new researchers joined us. We have also seen tremendous growth at our hubs.
We have also made very good progress towards making our knowledge accessible to everyone―since our research is a public good―through Open Access. By October this year over 50% of our publications were on Open Access. This can be partly attributed to the open access campaign we launched and ran throughout this year. We also have a new unit, the Data and Information Management Unit to coordinate and support our efforts towards openness.
Another area in which we made good progress was towards refining our data collection methods to demonstrate the impact of our research. We need to be accountable to our donors and partners and we need quality data to show our progress towards achieving our Key Performance Indicators―lifting 11 million out of poverty and rehabilitating 7.5 million ha of degraded land. The teams working on this have made great headway.
On another note, 2016 will also be my last complete year at IITA as I will be leaving by March 2017 to take on an exciting and challenging position at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. This was not an easy decision to make as I still had so many plans for IITA and I enjoyed being here. I will definitely miss IITA but I assure you all I will continue to be an IITA ambassador.
I therefore wish you and your families’ happy holidays, good health, and success in 2017!