The Whole System Approach (WSA) provides a framework for identifying priorities in the energy sector. It aims to capture much of the complexity of the sector and helps advisors to ask the right questions. The ICED Facility has produced the Whole System Approach tool (WSAT) for the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID). The WSAT is a tool to help advisers analyse and understand the range of issues within the energy (and associated) sectors, to allow them to take a holistic view on the energy sector and achieve the aims of the WSA.

  • The WSA encourages holistic policies to assist national governments to reach Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7); to catalyse inclusive economic development; and to meet commitments such as the Paris Agreement.
  • Through applying the WSA, advisers can better identify the entry points where Official Development Assistance (ODA) can be transformative. The WSA supports advisers to better understand, communicate and manage trade-offs across the energy sector for electricity, heating, cooking, cooling, transport, and industrial demand. The WSA enables integration of resilience, low carbon transition, and sustainable impact from the national level through to firms and the most vulnerable households.
  • The WSA Tool (WSAT) below helps to maximise impact and manage risks in its energy technical assistance, investments and international influencing. Dissemination and use of the WSA methodology, analysis and tools will promote more coherent and effective action to meet the global energy goals and global poverty alleviation.

There are two documents for the Whole Systems Approach Tool:

  • The WSAT introductory guide: Is a twelve-page slide pack which acts as an introduction to the WSAT and how it might be used by organisations and advisers.
  • The WSAT guide: Provides a structure that can be used to analyse and identify opportunities for intervention in the energy sector. It provides guidance on undertaking a two-step approach: a high-level analysis to identify priority areas for the adviser’s analysis to focus on, followed by more detailed analysis of the identified topics.

Exactly how energy sector advisers use the material provided by the WSAT will depend on their background. Some advisers may be familiar with much of the detailed guidance presented in the pack, but the structure of the WSA tool will still provide a useful completeness check that all interdependencies in the sector have been properly considered.

ICED have also produced a number of supporting documents which help to demonstrate the benefits of a WSA and the use of the WSAT. These products include high level country analysis using the WSAT and discussion papers of issues that cut across countries and energy systems. These products are:

  • Discussion paper: Surplus power generation capacity in sub-Saharan Africa – The focus of donors and IFIs in the last few decades has created an enabling environment in which the required investments in generation are possible. As a result of these trends, some countries may have surplus power generation capacity over the coming years; indeed, some countries already have a surplus. This paper identifies which countries this may apply to, the causes and effects of surplus capacity and proposes strategies and solutions that might help to mitigate the effect of surpluses in the short-term and reduce the risk of such surpluses recurring in future.
  • Report: Opportunities to support and increase regional power trading in Southern AfricaUsing WSA to review the barriers to electricity trading in Southern Africa.
  • The impact of energy imports on balance of payments and government debtMany developing countries are reliant on fuel imports for their energy supply which can have negative economic consequences. This paper analyses these issues and identifies the countries where the signs of resultant economic stress are most evident, the causes and effects of these challenges and proposes strategies and solutions that could be deployed to mitigate the risks outlined in this paper.