Ehui Emerges IITA Director General, CGIAR Regional Director

Olubunmi Osoteku, Ibadan

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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 for CGIAR.

In 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.

Ehui, a national of Côte d’Ivoire who has over 30 years experience in agriculture and sustainable development, 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 said: “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, and 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,” Ehui asserted.

The Chair of IITA’s Board of Trustees, Christian Borgemeister, who expressed pleasure at welcoming Dr Ehui as DG, IITA and CGIAR Regional Director for Continental Africa, noted that with his expertise and track record, Ehui was well positioned to be a transformative leader who would guide IITA and CGIAR in Africa into the future, also conveying appreciation to Dr Nteranya Sanginga for his tremendous commitment to IITA over the past 11 years.

Borgemeister stated, “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.”

The Executive Managing Director, CGIAR, Claudia Sadoff, noted 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.

Sadoff said, “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.”

The statement says, Ehui, who 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.

According to the statement, as set out in the Abidjan II communiqué, CGIAR signed an important agreement with the African Development Bank, the African Union Commission and the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa in 2022, aligning efforts to boost food and nutrition security on the African continent and Dr Ehui would be a member of CGIAR’s Senior Leadership Team, which helps guide the global partnership.

The statement discloses that Dr Ehui’s appointment is effective August 1, 2023, saying in the interim, IITA’s Deputy Director General and Director for Research for Development (R4D), Dr Bernard Vanlauwe, would serve as Director General.

Dr. Ehui takes over the role from Dr Nteranya Sanginga, who is retiring after 11 years of outstanding leadership, the statement reveals.