By Emmanuel Adeleke
The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Board of Trustees and CGIAR have appointed Dr Simeon Ehui as the 8th Director General for IITA and Regional Director for Continental Africa of CGIAR.
According to a statement made available by IITA, Ehui is expected to build on IITA and CGIAR’s proven track record of impact, working with teams and partners to improve livelihoods, enhance food and nutrition security, increase employment, and preserve natural resources across Africa.
In his acceptance speech, Ehui expressed his delight in taking up the role of IITA Director General and Regional Director, Continental Africa of CGIAR.
“I am delighted to take up the role of IITA Director General and Regional Director, Continental Africa at CGIAR. Critical scientific research is essential at a time when poverty, hunger, climate and biodiversity crises are escalating. Africa needs to enhance its potential to feed itself and make its food systems more resilient to climate change.
“I see myself as a broker across research-for-development among scientists, policy-makers and economists and linking science with programme implementation at the global, regional, and national levels,” the DG said.
In his address, the Chairman of IITA’s Board of Trustees, Christian Borgemeister, who expressed pleasure at welcoming Ehui as DG, IITA and CGIAR Regional Director for Continental Africa, said with his expertise and track record, the DG was well positioned to be a transformative leader who would guide IITA and CGIAR in Africa into the future.
He also appreciated the immediate past DG, Dr. Nteranya Sanginga, for his tremendous commitment to IITA over the past 11 years.
“He brings to these roles a passion for IITA’s mission, proven leadership, and deep experience facilitating high-level policy discussions, cultivating major partnerships, and steering transformational projects,” Borgemeister said.
Also, the Executive Managing Director, CGIAR, Claudia Sadoff, explained that Africa is central to efforts to achieve global food and nutrition security, and therefore critical to CGIAR’s mission to transform food, land, and water systems in a climate crisis.
“Early in his career, Dr Ehui worked at CGIAR and we are delighted that this distinguished alumnus is returning to help advance those goals and build impactful partnerships across the Continent,” Sadoff said.
Ehui, a national of Côte d’Ivoire has over 30 years experience in agriculture and sustainable development and joined IITA from the World Bank where he was Regional Director for Sustainable Development, providing vision, coherence, and focus for sustainable development in West and Central Africa.
He is expected to report to the IITA Board of Trustees and the CGIAR Executive Management Team would act as a counterpart to key continent-wide institutions and lead a step-change in the level, relevance, and depth of CGIAR’s presence in Africa.
Ehui’s appointment is effective August 1, 2023, as in the interim, IITA’s Deputy Director General and Director for Research for Development (R4D), Dr Bernard Vanlauwe, would serve as Director General.
Ehui takes over the role from Sanginga, who is retiring after 11 years of outstanding leadership.