IITA’s Project Partners Facing Challenges

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IITA Deputy Director General for Special Duties, Kwame Akuffo-Akoto

International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) says many of its project partners are facing challenges in managing, and understanding the rules guiding grant administration as they relate to sub-agreements signed with it.

 ‘’These gaps have affected project reporting, resulting in delayed fund disbursements to their institutions and from IITA donors’’, the Institute says.

As part of efforts to, therefore, strengthen efficiency and collaboration with its partners, IITA Project Development and Administration Unit (PDAU) is reaching out to its partners to organise a training programme for them.

In conjunction with the IITA Capacity Development Office (CDO), the PDAU team conducted a free 2-day webinar on July 28 and 29, as the first of a planned series of training for partners on all ongoing IITA projects.

IITA Deputy Director-General for Special Duties, Kwame Akuffo-Akoto, in his opening remarks, notes that the training will be an excellent opportunity to enhance collaboration and understanding between IITA and participating institutions.

He said the training will further improve the participants’ knowledge of key concepts and expectations that will enable them to handle better the challenges they face in managing projects. Achieving this will also lead to improved efficiency in project delivery.

Akuffo-Akoto, a Ghanaian, is based at IITA-headquarters, Ibadan, the Oyo State capital. He has over 30 years experience in all aspects of finance, accounting, treasury and banking, auditing, human resources management and general administration.

He is a certified chartered accountant (South West London College, UK). Prior to this new appointment, he was the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer at the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), Nairobi, Kenya.

He started his international career with the CGIAR as the Financial Controller with the Africa Rice Centre in Liberia, rising to the position of Director of Administration and Finance. In 1996, he moved to the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in Hyderabad, India, as Director for Finance and then Director, Finance and Administration.

From 2002 to 2007, he worked at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), in Los Baños, Philippines, as the Director for Corporate Services.

The Interim Head of PDAU, Kayode Awobajo, welcomed participants and encouraged them to apply the lessons learned from the training in handling their different projects.

He also urged them to maintain close interaction with the PDAU team after the webinar. He used the opportunity to commend his team for the extra efforts in organising the event despite the challenging times.

He also appreciated colleagues from CDO and ICT units for their collaboration in ensuring the success of the event.

The training, delivered in four different sessions, drew participants from across Africa, Asia, South America, and Europe.  One hundred and twenty-four delegates (124) participated in the first session, which was on the “Essentials of proposal development (IITA experience).”

 The afternoon session focused on the “Fundamentals of efficient contract management” and attracted 76 participants.

On the second day, the session on “Grant administration: Key success factors in meeting donor financial deliverables” had 78 attendees, while the afternoon session with the topic, “Effective record-keeping for managing projects”, attracted 69 participants.

The webinar participants gave positive feedback and were enthusiastic about attending future training.

 

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