Increasing opportunities for refugees

Nearly 30 million people worldwide are currently asylum-seekers or refugees (UNHCR, 2020). The private sector can be central to assisting refugees and addressing economic drivers of migration. Strategies include (1) supporting new economic opportunities and adaptation to climate change at refugees’ places of origin; (2) enhancing existing income generation activities of refugees and create new jobs in host countries and communities; and (3) provide resources and capacity to boost humanitarian assistance.

This page summarises current practice and understanding about how to help such people become more self-reliant through increased economic opportunity or employment.

At a glance: Short reads on refugees

DCED publication          External publication

Summary of key research on using private sector development to assist refugees.

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Article summarising the role of global business in supporting refugees, based on CGDEV’s 2017 research study.

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A note providing clarity on the definitions of “refugee” and “migrant”, and advice on their correct usage.

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Opportunities and challenges

Addressing the root causes of migration

As outlined by IDMC (2015), the root causes of migration are  multi-faceted and context-specific. Proposals to increase economic opportunities in countries-of-origin and to mitigate the effects of climate change are discussed in the publications listed below.

Supporting refugees to achieve self-reliance

Typical approaches to promote economic opportunities of refugees in host countries and communities include the development of existing markets (e.g. in refugee camps), livelihood support and measures to enable the uptake of wage labour. In addition to the resources below, the International Chamber of Commerce runs a portal to showcase public-private sector collaborations that integrate refugees into the global economy.

As many host countries of refugees are also fragile, or at increased risk of fragility, resources on PSD in fragile and conflict-affected environments may provide additional guidance.

Photo credits: UN Women/Joe Saade (Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons), Sudipto Das.