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Last Updated 7th July 2022.

How much funding is the Emergency Telecommunications sector forecast to receive in 2022?

Funding to the Emergency Telecommunications sector is forecast to be between $1m and $18m in 2022. Our central estimate is $9m. For reference, the Emergency Telecommunications sector received $7m last year.

This forecast is based on our 95% probability range. In other words, we are 95% sure that funding will be between $1m and $18m. 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 $5m and $14m.

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. Given that we don’t have the information yet we have projected the funding required for 2022 and compared that to the funding forecast. 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 likely that the sector will receive at least 50% of what is required, and there’s a realistic possiblity reaching 75% of what is required. However we think it’s highly unlikely that the sector will reach the funding requirement (though this is a very rare occurrence across all sectors).


How does the 2022 forecast compare to previous years?

Our forecast shows that Emergency Telecommunications will reach between 4% and 122% of the projected 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 9 emergencies (you can find the full list on the Global Cluster website here), and only had funding requirements in 13 different contexts in 2021.

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 2021, and this had declined to $14m.

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 steadily climbed to $7.8m in 2020. The analogy that comes to mind is being on a rollercoaster, 100 metres in the air, and then you drop to 7 metres above the ground. The analogy falls down when you consider that (fictional) rollercoasters are designed like this, but that would be no way to design a sustainable ecosystem of funding.

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 one year of ‘real negative growth’ as it stands (but more funding could be added in the ‘post-year’ period to tip it into ‘real positive growth’, and we think that may happen. Based on this assumption, we think that it is unlikely that the funding gap will close this year.

Therefore, we think it is likely that there will be real growth as opposed to another year of real negative growth which would equal a recession. Note: in this story, we’ve defined a real recession as two consecutive years of a growing funding gap


How does the 2022 forecast compare to other sectors?

Unsurprisingly, with the forecast having a central estimate of $9m for 2022, 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 16th 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 2022, Emergency Telecommunications has received $2m in funding, which benchmarks at a similar level to previous years.

Around $7m had been received by Emergency Telecommunications by the end of 2021. This is more than the amount of funding to the sector at the same point in 2018 and 2019, and just a tiny bit short of 2020 levels.

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.

We can also see a slight upward trend in recent years in terms of funding received. Only $2.9m was received in 2018, increasing to $7.8m in 2020.


Features of the Emergency Telecommunications Sector in 2021

The average funding requirement is 0% met in the Emergency Telecommunications sector. This is as bad as it can get, really. 6 out of 11 contexts didn’t report a single dollar in funding, and even amongst those that did, only two perfomed well. These were Nigeria (124%) and Yemen (102%) which both met their funding requirement.

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 seven sources of funding to the Emergency Telecommunications sector in 2021. The top sources of funding were: the Central Emergency Response Fund (30%), the US Government (25%), the Canadian Government (22%), and the Yemen Humanitarian Fund (12%). Together, these four sources equal around 89% of funding to the sector.

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 2,224 indicating a moderately 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 ($7m in 2020), and diversifying the funding mix with new donors could help to achieve this.

On the other side of the equation, welcome to the world’s most boring chart – it’s just one bubble (but hey if you click and drag the bubble about then that’s fun, right?). WFP received all 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).


2021 Forecast

Last year’s forecast can’t yet be judged against what the reality was as the 2021 numbers aren’t ‘final’ yet, despite it being 2022 already. It varies year-to-year, but there is still a non-trivial amount of funding that is logged after the end of the year. Therefore, we can’t really judge last year’s forecast until some point later in 2022. It’s at this point that we’ll do a post-mortem on our 2021 forecasts and see how well we did.

Methodology

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.