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Last Updated 6th January 2024.

How much funding is the Emergency Telecommunications sector forecast to receive in 2023?

Funding to the Emergency Telecommunications sector is forecast to be between $6m and $17m in 2023. Our central estimate is $9m. For reference, the Emergency Telecommunications sector received $5m last year.

This forecast is based on our 95% probability range. In other words, we are 95% sure that funding will be between $6m and $17m. Below are the other forecast ranges for the Emergency Telecommunications sector. As we become less sure about our forecast, the range narrows. So for example, we think there’s a 50% probability that funding will be between $7m and $12m.

But we need to put this into context. What does the forecast mean in terms of reaching the funding that is required for the sector (also known as the funding requirement)? The total funding requirement globally is determined by how much is needed in each context. If you hover over the donut below you’ll be able to see the chances of reaching 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% of the funding that is required.

Because of the low amount of funding required for the Emergency Telecommunications sector, the odds are in their favour. It’s almost certain that the sector will receive at least 25% of what is required, although unlikely that the sector will recieve 50% of what is required.

How does the 2023 forecast compare to previous years?

Our forecast shows that Emergency Telecommunications will reach between 27% and 81% of the funding requirement. That’s quite a large range. The thing is that the Emergency Telecommunications sector isn’t like regular sectors such as Food Security, and Health. Nor is it a totally unique case like Agriculture or Early Recovery, where the dynamics of the sector are quite idiosyncratic.

Emergency Telecommunications is a sector with quite a low amount of funding. The graph above shows that the sector exists within a small range of under $50m, and for the past few years, under $10m. Furthermore, Emergency Telecommunications is only active in 8 emergencies (you can find the full list on the Global Cluster website here), and only had funding requirements in 10 different contexts in 2022.

The fact that the sector is only active in a small number of contexts means that the requirement can fluctuate quite substantially depending on whether there are significant requirements in one or two contexts. In 2016 and 2017, the funding requirement stood at $40m and $44m, respectively. Fast forward to 2022, and this had declined to $15m.

Given the small nature of the sector, and hence it’s inherent volatility, there isn’t any discernible long term trend in the requirement or in the funding received. The sector received $44m in 2017. Yet in just a year, funding had fallen off a cliff. Funding to the sector fell by 93% in a single year to $2.9m in 2018. It has since remained in the single digit millions – receiving $4.6m in 2022 .

One thing to note before we move on, is that it is quite an impressive achievement that the sector hit its funding requirement in 2017. This is one of the rare instances of this happening to any sector. In fact, across the last five years and the 15 analysed sectors, this only happened one other time (Mine Action in 2019).

So, why did this happen? It was driven primarily by two contexts. Yemen ($25m) and Sudan ($12m) received a combined 84% of total funding in 2017 (see here). When we compare that to the next best year, 2020, we can see a common trend. The sector received $7.8m and 70% of the funding requirement. This was driven, again, by just two contexts (see here) – Bangladesh received $4.1m and Yemen received $1.8m, totalling 76% of overall funding.

This helps to explain why the funding requirement for Emergency Telecommunications can be more easily reached than other sectors. Some funding to just one or two contexts goes quite a long way to reach the requirement. It also helps to explain the volatility in the funding received.

The sector has experienced two years of a growing funding gap (what we’re calling a “humanitarian recession”. However, we think that it’s highly likely that the sector will close its funding gap this year (real growth). Note: in this story, we’ve defined a real recession as two consecutive years of a growing funding gap

How does the 2023 forecast compare to other sectors?

Unsurprisingly, with the forecast having a central estimate of $9m for 2023, Emergency Telecommunications is set to be the least funded sector of all in absolute terms. This may sound bad, but it isn’t really. It’s also the sector with the lowest funding requirement, so in context, ranking in 17th is not bad. But the table does show how tiny the expected funding is compared to other humanitarian sectors.

The current state of things

So far in 2023, Emergency Telecommunications has received $4.6m in funding, which means that the sector is tracking ahead of where it was at the same point last year.

Just a small amount of funding can make a massive difference to how we view the sector’s performance. We can see from the graph that funding can remain low for many months, and then jump up all at once. A clear example is that funding in 2020 was around the same level as 2019 funding until August. Then, in one month, funding increased substantially. This shows how the sector can be really sensitive to just a few funding flows.

Features of the Emergency Telecommunications Sector in 2022

The average funding requirement is 6% met in the Emergency Telecommunications sector. This is the lowest average across all humanitarian sectors. This is driven in large part due to the four contexts that didn’t report any Emergency Telecommunications funding in 2022. And even when we consider those that did report funding, only Nigeria (94%) received over half of what they needed in 2022.

Overall, this paints the picture of quite an unequal sector in terms of funding. One reason why this may be the case for Emergency Telecommunications, more so than other sectors, is that it only takes one or two big grants, to make a massive difference to the funding requirement.

There were only eight sources of funding to the Emergency Telecommunications sector in 2022. The top sources of funding were: the US Government (45%), the Central Emergency Response Fund (36%), and the Ukraine (11%) and Yemen (3%) pooled funds. Together, these four sources equal around 94% of funding to the sector. It is also notable that the sector is disproportionately dependent on pooled funds – 49% of the donor funding comes from pooled funds (either global or country-based)

This is one of the least diverse sectors examined on the website. We can calculate the market concentration using the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index. Though definitions differ, on a scale of 0 to 10,000, a sector is moderately concentrated with a score between 1,500 and 2,500, and highly concentrated over 2,500. The Emergency Telecommunications Sector has a score of 3,426 indicating a highly concentrated sector.

The clear downside to this is that the sector is dependent on just a small number of donors, and if there is a decline in funding from just one of these four donors, that has a big impact on the sector. The clear opportunity, however, is that bringing more donors into the sector can make a massive difference. Not much funding (in absolute dollar terms) is needed to make up the overall shortfall ($11m in 2020), and diversifying the funding mix with new donors could help to achieve this.

On the other side of the equation, one bubble dominates – the World Food Programme. WFP received 93% of the funding for the sector – this is unsurprising as WFP are the cluster lead agency for the sector. However, it should be noted that WFP say that there are 29 partners of the Emergency Telecommunications Cluster, indicating that some funding may not be illustrated here (whether other funding or second-tier funding).


The usual health warning: FTS doesn’t capture everything. It is a platform that relies on voluntary reporting by organisations. But it is the most comprehensive source of data for humanitarian funding.

For forecast methodology, click here. We’ll be keeping a record of all our forecasts and success over time, which you can find here.

To find out methodology and sources for other things on this page which aren’t the forecast, click here.

Note: Numbers in ‘The current state of things’ graph may differ from elsewhere on the page as the data was extracted on a different date (8th July 2023) than other numbers that also show how much was received (i.e. the column chart).