The ABS Project Governance

As the ABS primary grantee, Africa Harvest has the mandate for the Project Management and Coordination; in particular, the Foundation ensures that all contractual obligations with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) are met. The Foundation oversees the Project Management function to ensure consortium members meet agreed milestones and activities on time.

Africa Harvest keeps abreast with emerging principles of good corporate governance. Like all other projects implemented by the Foundation, the Africa Harvest Board of Directors is fully engaged in active, independent, and informed oversight of the ABS Project. The CEO of Africa Harvest, who is a member of the Board, provides the direct link to the ABS Project. This allows the Board access information and analysis relevant to decision-making and oversight responsibilities. Africa Harvest senior management also make periodic presentations directly to the Board and to various Committee of the Board.

As already indicated, the Africa Harvest CEO provides the link between the Foundation and the ABS Project. This link occurs through the ABS Project Steering Committee (PSC) which provides vision, general oversight and direction to the project. The PSC is Chaired by the Project Coordinator (Africa Harvest CEO), the Principal Investigator (Pioneer) and Committee Members drawn from institutions represented in the project consortium.

Project implementation is achieved through several task-oriented committees, which address various functional aspects of the project. The Team Leaders Management Group (TLMG) is composed of individuals who lead their respective institutions’ teams. The Team Leaders are responsible for the project implementation on behalf of their institutions; they oversee work progress for the project aspects for which they are in charge and are accountable for meeting their milestones and activities. They report to the PSC through the Project Manager. The TLMG holds two face-to-face meetings once a year, but keep regularly in touch through teleconferences.

The External Advisory Board (EAB) of the ABS project provides independent input to the project. It is made up of world-class experts with diverse disciplines, including agricultural economics, sorghum breeding, human nutrition, agricultural research, product deployment, biosafety and regulatory affairs. The EAB members attend project planning meetings once a year to listen to critique progress reports and presentations. It then provides written feedback to the PSC; this feedback is vital in ensuring that the project adheres to its vision, mission and goals. The feedback also helps the project stay on track to deliver its stated objectives, govern in a responsible and effective manner, remain relevant in the dynamic environment in which it operates and be adaptable to the external factors that impact it.

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