Daniel Assoumou Mba leaves the CTA
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CTA. 1995. Daniel Assoumou Mba leaves the CTA. Spore 58. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/47108
After 12 years as Director of CTA Daniel Assoumou Mba has now completed his assignment. From the outset he has led his institute with discretion and courtesy. During these years the tasks, personnel and budget of the Centre have expanded to create...
After 12 years as Director of CTA Daniel Assoumou Mba has now completed his assignment. From the outset he has led his institute with discretion and courtesy. During these years the tasks, personnel and budget of the Centre have expanded to create an institute capable of effectively fulfilling its mandate. Mr Assoumou undertook his duties with a rigorous commitment to development and clear-sighted policies. He always insisted that Spore, which he was responsible for naming, should be a publication oriented towards development information and not a publicity bulletin for CTA. Spore asked Daniel Assoumou Mba about his experiences and his vision for CTA. Spore: You have led CTA since its creation in 1983. With hindsight, what do you see as the main phases in the Centre's development? D Assoumou Mba: When CTA was established the mandate given to us by Lomé II was very broad: to improve access by ACP countries to information, research and training and also to agricultural development innovations. This was an enormous task! CTA's initial activities in 1983 began from a hotel room in Wageningen. There were only two staff members at the time: a driver-messenger and myself. Within one year eight people were recruited and a programme-budget for the subsequent year was drawn up. Initially the Centre's activities were mainly focused on demonstrating the importance of scientific and technical information (STI) in relation to food security, income generation and natural resource conservation. In other words, that STI should be regarded as an input in agricultural production. We gradually became aware of the constraints that ACP countries have to face in terms of information dissemination: lack of national or regional STI policies, difficulty in accessing information sources and a shortage of human and financial resources. At the same time, it was necessary to identify which groups of agricultural development workers should become our target groups: e.g. planners, researchers, trainers, extension workers and information managers. Based on the requirements expressed by the ACP countries CTA launched its first information dissemination activities through studies, scientific and technical meetings, and publications on research and extension. Spore: What strategies has CTA adopted to accomplish its objectives? D Assoumou Mba: We have been able to establish and maintain close links with organizations involved in agricultural development in ACP countries at all levels: national, regional and international. CTA commissions experts from European Union and ACP countries to carry out specific tasks. The Centre has established regional offices in the Caribbean and the Pacific to improve its effectiveness in those regions. In Africa, we maintain close links with regional economic bodies and research-coordinating institutes. CTA also works closely with ACP national research, training, extension, and information and documentation services. The value of CTA's early work was recognized five years after its establishment. An evaluation of CTA's work during this period was very positive. Spore: What are the Centre's current activities? D Assoumou Mba: The Centre's activities focus on agriculture, including livestock, fishing and forestry; and the socio-economic aspects of any activity are always taken into account. CTA currently serves 70 African, Caribbean and Pacific countries which are divided into six regions. Spore: How do you see the future beyond Lomé IV? D Assoumou Mba: Lomé IV covers the period 1991-2000 and has broadened the Centre's mandate by emphasizing the need to develop capacity in ACP countries. The Convention aims to integrate information within agricultural development strategies and our role is to provide scientific and technical support in the preparation of information programmes. According to the 1994 evaluation of CTA 'the Centre has moved from a position of considerable uncertainy in 1984 to one of growing importance and tangible achievements. The Centre now has an identity and infrastructure, a sound programme and funding base, and a widely recognized contribution to the information needs of ACP countries...'. However, the Centre's role as a catalyst in formulating STI programmes can only bring about major changes if the Centre works to enable ACP countries to ultimately take over CTA's responsibilities and to meet their own agricultural information needs more adequately. CTA's role remains relevant today. However, it will have to put special effort into defining and setting up regional programmes. This is the key to its future success.