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On 8 May, bright and early, IFAD staff at headquarters came together in the cafeteria for a 30-minute town-hall meeting with the President.

He shared some of the highlights of his first month in office:

The President thanked colleagues involved in the above meetings for their impeccable teamwork, for providing all the necessary support and backstopping to make IFAD’s participation in these events a success.

On the recent Executive Board session, Nwanze highlighted the need to improve our intelligence-gathering and importance of briefing new board directors about IFAD's operations.

Building a more effective and efficient organization

The President reminded colleagues that change and adaptability are essential if we are to remain relevant, agile and flexible. He reiterated that he will give authority, space and responsibility to IFAD staff, to allow us to be more efficient and more effective in delivering our best and that he will do so without building new layers of bureaucracy, or creating new and unnecessary committees, just for the sake of doing so."

What I am interested in – what for me is an absolute priority – is helping IFAD to work more effectively and efficiently, so that the poorest and most vulnerable members of our society can lift themselves out of poverty and deprivation," said Nwanze.

To achieve this, and consistent with his pledge to delegate both responsibility and accountability, Nwanze said he wants more IFAD managers, and those who support them, to contribute to the corporate agenda.

"It is important that my senior management team should be able to better draw on the skills and talents of managers across the house. And it is important that the coordination that exists at the senior levels should be shared across the organization," he explained.

To achieve the above, to strengthen accountability of line managers, to improve corporate decision-making and to enhance cross department and divisional cooperation and cooperation, the President has put in place the following decision-making framework and processes:
  • the Executive Management Committee (EMC) which will be the highest level management committee and will replace the existing Senior Management Team
  • the Operational Management Committee (OMC) which will both guide and oversee the reform agenda and also assist the Executive Management Committee in implementing and following up on strategic decisions. The OMC will replace the current Change and Reform Management Team
  • the IFAD Management Team which is already in place

"The Operational Management Committee will be the heart of the institution, and it will be at this level that challenges and issues will be discussed and resolved. This committee will take decisions at operational level," explained Nwanze.

"I will give OMC full authority and I look to you all to support this important structural change. It is designed to help you have a more direct say in decisions on strategy and policy direction; and help me draw on the best and most relevant expertise in this organization."

Nwanze also reminded staff that he wants to ensure a transparent and collaborative decision-making process, thus, decisions will be made by these groups, and not elsewhere. He also said that there is nothing wrong to disagree with each other and to have different perspectives. "What is important is to come up with solutions and options,"he added.

The President closed his remarks by sharing the schedule of his forthcoming travels. "I will be travelling in the coming months as a champion for rural poor people and advocate for increasing investment in agriculture," he said.

President's forthcoming travels

In May, the President will be in the Gulf region for the World Economic Forum on Middle East in Jordan and subsequently visiting Saudi Arabia and Qatar. In June the President will be participating in the:
  • World Economic Forum in South Africa
  • Joint AU/ECA ministerial meeting
  • G8 development ministers' meeting
  • Ministerial council of the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) in Venezuela

While in Latin America for the OFID ministerial council, the President will also visit Brazil and Argentina.

Question time

In answering the questions from colleagues, the President highlighted the following three main challenges which we all collectively need to address and tackle:

  • increase in our programme of work -- at least 15% increase in our programme of work will be a key challenge
  • country presence and direct supervision --Nwanze reminded the gathering that country presence is a corporate responsibility and that everyone should proactively be contributing to this strategic activity
  • HR reform --Nwanze reiterated that HR reform is one of IFAD's priorities in the coming months

In concluding the meeting, Nwanze encouraged colleagues to share their ideas and insights with the OMC and asked the members of the OMC to make sure they solicit inputs from their co-workers.

"We need a vertical and horizontal exchange among staff to put in place a collaborative and transparent decision-making process," he concluded.