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Step 2 - Categorising energy market actors

Once the first preliminary map of the selected energy market system has been completed it is important for the facilitation team to start to assess the relative role and importance of each market actor. This includes identifying the key market actors, defined as the ones who are either highly relevant to the functioning of the energy system, have a high degree of influence to bring about change in it, or are critical in terms of inclusion, including women and low income market actors. These will often be the ones that the facilitators will need to work with closely and engage with during the participatory process over the next steps of the roadmap.

The facilitation team should use the Template in Annex 2 to carry out the following actions:

  • List all the market actors in the energy market system in all 3 levels. Once again it may be easiest to start with the core market chain, then move to the supporting function actors, before finally considering the enabling environment actors.
  • Again, it is important to be as specific as possible, and if possible, speak to strategically chosen stakeholders and experts who know more about the market system than you do.
  • Once all the market actors have been identified it is useful to categorise them according to the Influence-Relevance Matrix, as experience has shown that these are the most important dimensions in making some market actors key actors. Use the definitions of Relevance and Influence below to guide you.

Relevance: This relates to how important a type or category of market actor is to the functioning of the system. The overall performance of the energy market system will suffer if each actor is not there. It is also helpful to identify if each function can be taken up by other group of actors, and how easily or quickly this is likely to happen.

Influence: The influence of a market actor describes how capable they are to change the market system directly or mobilise others to change it. It is important to be aware that influence can be manifested in different ways.

Direct and Indirect: Some market actors, such as a government regulator, have explicit or direct power to set the rules that affects every business in a sector across the country. For example, finance companies have the power to change their lending practices, which in turn affects how businesses operate. Other market actors may have more invisible or indirect power. This includes mini-grid developers who cannot change electricity generation regulations themselves, but their ideas or practices can influence their peers, which through group action can lead to structural change, or the presence or absence of consumer power.

Once the initial categorisation of the market actors has been made it is useful to use the recommendations in Table 1 on how to engage and interact with each market actor, during the next steps of the roadmap. Table 1 Recommendations for Future Engagement with Market Actors.


Low High



These actors are powerful and may turn out to be important drivers of change, despite them not seeming to be very relevant at this stage.

Stay open minded, and if they show an interest, be quick to provide them with information about your investigation and preparation process and subsequently keep them informed.

These are important players in the system - the ‘movers and shakers’ – who have power to change things.

Actively target these actors, engaging them as early as possible and throughout the investigation and preparation process.


Although they do not seem to be as important, they may still prove to be, particularly as the understanding of the system changes, and the system itself changes.

Stay receptive towards these actors, and if they show an interest, provide them with information about your investigation and preparation process

These actors may still be an important part of the market system. Ignoring them may have severe unintended consequences.

Keep them informed about the investigation and preparation process

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