Thank you all for your hard work and dedication in 2015. Over the past four years we have worked together as a team and this approach will continue to be the major factor in our continued progress and success. Challenges lie ahead as always but as we embrace change and adapt, we have a bright future ahead.
As we continue in our strength of delivering improved knowledge and technologies through partnerships to the end users, we will be evaluated on how people’s lives are being improved and we must be able to provide the clear evidence that we are achieving impact at scale. Demonstrating this impact by working with private and public partners will determine our future. Being successful in both these areas is a priority and it is critical that the organizational structure of IITA supports our ability to achieve both of these major objectives.
One important area that IITA will focus on in 2016 is helping the African Development Bank in achieving its vision for Africa by modernizing agriculture.
African leaders had met at a conference, Feeding Africa – An Action Plan for African Agricultural Transformation, in October 2015 in Dakar, Senegal, to kick-start agriculture as an engine of growth.
A roadmap was developed that involves a two-pronged approach based on raising food productivity and reorganizing markets to create greater incentives and better trade conditions.
The creation of the Business Incubation Platform (BIP), the newly added cassava and soybean processing centers, and the Youth Agripreneurs at IITA have all made a significant contribution to Nigeria’s quest to diversify its economy by accelerating the agricultural development sector. Many of these IITA innovations are being replicated and expanded in countries like DRC, Tanzania, and Zambia.
I believe my role in the future of IITA will be more in the area of achieving impact at scale by working with private and public partners and especially the youth. I am working to help IITA become the organization that all the other organizations working to improve agriculture in Africa want to partner with.
Let’s work together on this. I wish all staff the best for 2016.