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 Cover_Bioenergies in East Africa Between challenges and opportunities

 

 

Overview

The general objective of the action is to enhance the capacity of Higher Education Institutions to offer original programmes at postgraduate and Lifelong Learning level to be designed and developed in the field of Energy and Agro-food sectors.

Accordingly, the specific objectives of this action seek to integrate and/or upgrade existing academic curricula by providing multidisciplinary knowledge and know-how on the Energy_Agro-food Nexus through the development of ad-hoc teaching modules, by supplying training materials and by the creation of students’ internship programmes in local industries, farms or organizations. Furthermore, the action aims at improving the academic staff scientific competences and networking capacities by training experts with high standard qualification in the fields of concern.

Activities

The action is characterized by four main dimensions:

    • A deep integration between the Energy and Agro-food thematic fields in East Africa focusing on:

  • the agro-food supply chain as an opportunity to provide renewable energy sources and improve access to energy;

  • the rural communities as major target of innovative solutions for better access to energy;

  • renewable energies as the key element to boost efficiency and competitiveness in the agro-food value chain;

  • the agro-food chain as the leading sector in the reduction of CO2 emission;

  • the local strategies to cope with climate change impact;

  • the synergies among agricultural, economic and environmental policies, and sustainability-oriented strategies;

  • the need for specific competences on energy policy design, energy market analysis and governance, energy system design, agro-energy chain logistics, innovative cropping system and energy chain-supply, etc…

    • An inter-disciplinary approach that will bring:

  • specific knowledge on different scientific fields (technical, didactic, economic, social, historical, policy, environmental), and

  • will provide adequate theoretical, operational, normative, methodological and cultural skills to the Consortium of the East African Partner Universities (CEAU).

    • A strong inter-sectorial and systemic dimensions:

  • Inter-sectoriality will encourage cooperation among project Partners, associate NGOs and the principal stakeholders (farmers and farmers’ associations, rural communities, agro-food business sector, stakeholders of renewable energy sources – RES, Institutions) in planning activities, reaching milestones, and assessing results.

    • An inter-regional scale:

  • to create or enhance institutional networking through the integration of teaching modules among the African Partner Universities to allow convertibility of/open accessibility to study programmes and the realization of mobility schemes;

  • to enhance the capacity to identify regional needs

Context and Premises

The action is financed by the European Union under the Programme of International Cooperation with the African and Caribbean Countries (EDULINK II) and involves three European Universities (the University of Bologna, as Project Coordinator, the University of Pavia and University d’Auvergne as Partners) and four East African Universities (the University of Addis Ababa and Mekelle in Ethiopia; the University of Nairobi in Kenya; and the Sokoine University of Agriculture in Tanzania)

The action moves from two assumptions:

1. The growing role of the Energy – Agro-Food Nexus in the socio-economic development of the region where:

-energy is one of the key sectors for a sustainable growth that affect the socio-economic development and the quality of life in rural areas;
-agriculture, that today is the leading sector in the local economies, could also play a pivotal role in the sustainable energy production and consumption.

2. The existing higher-education supply shows several gaps in the Energy–Agro-food Nexus. This is related with:

-limited inter-disciplinary approach;
-lack of holistic approach;
-gap in evolving socio-economic, environmental and technological scenarios;
-inadequate provision of PhD and Lifelong Learning programmes.

Energy Agro-food Synergies in Africa: New Educational Models for Universities