Place: Africa
Year(s): 2007-2009
Sector: Biomass & Bioenergy

Competence Platform on Energy Crop and Agroforestry Systems for Arid and Semi-arid Ecosystems – Africa

The objective of this Competence Platform on Energy Crop and Agroforestry Systems for Arid and Semi-arid Ecosystems- Africa (COMPETE) is to stimulate bioenergy implementation in arid and semi-arid regions in Africa. COMPETE will establish a platform for policy dialogue and capacity building in the major multi- and bi-lateral funding organisations and key stakeholders throughout the bioenergy provision and supply chains.

Project objectives

The Competence Platform on Energy Crop and Agroforestry Systems for Arid and Semi-arid Ecosystems – Africa (COMPETE) will bring together world-leading scientists, researchers, funders and practitioners from different fields and across the world to create a platform for discussion, knowledge exchange, policy and methodology development. It will use this concentrated expertise to provide strategic and practical guidance and tools on the provision of modern bioenergy for the sustainable and optimal usage of these special ecosystems.

The main objective of COMPETE is to identify pathways for the provision of bioenergy, which will:

  1. improve the quality of life for the inhabitants e.g. poverty alleviation, value added activities, alternative means of income generation and providing options to reduce vulnerability whilst, in parallel;
  2. aid the preservation of the critical functions of arid and semi-arid regions in Africa as intact ecosystems e.g. maintaining biodiversity and providing ecosystem services, and;
  3. enhance the equitable exchange of knowledge between EU and developing countries in this critical area of activity In order to achieve the primary objective (above), COMPETE has developed a number of sub-objectives. These sub-objectives represent the highly cross-sectoral nature of bioenergy provision and the breadth and depth of the scientific and technological objectives that COMPETE will integrate into providing useful decision making and implementation tools.

The long-term provision of secure supplies of bioenergy will require the evaluation of a large range of inter-related factors within a comprehensive analytical framework and associated decision making tools leading to a holistic policy development process.

Factors such as:

  • The optimal and socially acceptable allocation of land between food, infrastructure, bioenergy and other uses;
  • The soil degradation.
  • The impacts of, and on, climate change;
  • The water use; and, the potential for political conflict.

These factors are closely linked to the problems that many regions in Africa are confronted with. A multi sectoral cross-disciplinary approach is urgently needed to cope with these problems and the likely demands generated by high oil prices, and that reflects the emerging evidence base on ecosystem damage and tools for monitoring sustainability.

Participants and Consortium

The 44 international consortium partners of the COMPETE competence platform on energy crop and agroforestry systems for arid and semi-arid ecosystems combine excellent complementary expertise in many fields.

The COMPETE partnership comprises 20 European partners, 11 partners from 7 African countries, 3 regional African policy and financing bodies (African Development Bank (AFDB); Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network of Southern Africa (FANRPAN); Biomass Energy Regional Program (BERP) – UEMOA), 9 partners from developing countries in Latin America and Asia as well as the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO).

The stakeholders involved as partners in this coordination action include the following organisation types:

  • Universities
  • Research institutes
  • NGOs
  • SMEs
  • Associations, agencies and networks
  • International financing and development organisations
  • Regional African policy organisations


The COMPETE project duration will be from January 2007 until December 2009.

The COMPETE project is co-funded by the European Commission in the 6th Framework Programme – Specific Measures in Support of International Cooperation (INCO-CT-2006-032448).

[Project Website]