Combating COVID-19-induced shortfalls: IITA reveals strategy to strengthen financial health and secure research goals

30 May 2020

To manage potential funding shortfalls due to the global COVID-19 crisis, IITA Director General Nteranya Sanginga has outlined options through which the Institute can strengthen ongoing research and ensure sustainable planning as well as strategic resource mobilization.

After strenuous consultations with different stakeholders, including staff and donors, Sanginga communicated the decisions during a virtual town hall meeting with Institute staff in all locations.

Combating COVID-19-induced shortfalls: IITA reveals strategy to strengthen financial health and secure research goals
DG Nteranya Sanginga at a virtual town hall meeting, explaining IITA’s funding shortfalls due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With analysis based on cashflow projections and scenario mapping, the DG explained some of possible outcomes of different scenarios that include reduced budgets and financial deficits throughout this pandemic period. Sanginga said that the Institute is devising ways to ensure that all staff keep their jobs and that the vision of transforming agriculture in Africa is sustained. He reiterated that IITA staff continue to be the Institute’s most important assets and their health and well-being and that of stakeholders like farmers and farming communities depending on IITA’s research remain a priority.

The DG explained that the twin strategy of budget reduction and resource mobilization will be employed to ensure that the Institute comes out stronger and better from the global COVID-19 crisis.

According to Sanginga, IITA will review the financial situation every month and would consider several options, such as reduction of expenditures, staff contributing a percentage of their basic salaries to support the Institute’s finances over a seven-month timeline, starting in June 2020, savings on operational costs, and reimbursement of deductions made.

“The ongoing crisis has created huge opportunities for agriculture in Africa, and IITA is positioned to ensure that this does not lead to a food shortage crisis on the continent,” he stated.

He added that the IITA Board of Trustees and Management have learned from past financial crises and have ensured that IITA will emerge stronger from these challenges. Sanginga also said that the 2020 CGIAR financial modeling of the COVID-19 impact was also taken into account as part of the steps to address the shortfall in the Institute’s finances.