Increasing opportunities for refugees

25 million people are currently asylum-seekers or refugees (McKinsey Global Institute, 2016). The purpose of this webpage is to summarise current practice and understanding about how to help such people become more self-reliant, through increased economic opportunity or employment.

DCED Synthesis Note: private sector development for refugees

For a summary of key research on using private sector development to assist refugees, download the DCED Synthesis Note.


Key overview documents


Addressing the root causes of displacement

The root causes of migration tend to be multi-faceted, context-specific and difficult to tackle directly. Proposals to increase economic opportunities in countries-of-origin, help to mitigate the effects of climate change, and reduce conflict are all discussed in the below publications.


Livelihood assistance

There is a growing recognition that refugees have an important role to play in the economy. Donors are increasingly trying to facilitate this role. Alex Betts, director of Oxford University’s Refugee Studies Centre, summed this up in a recent TED talk, which is embedded below (2016).



Diaspora communities and reintegration

Knowledge about the economic implications of refugee return is essential in order to develop adequate policies in the post-conflict period. Diaspora communities have also been identified as an important source of development financing.


Leveraging the private sector to help refugees

Refugees are not just aid recipients, but also potential employees, producers, investees, and customers. As the below publications show, global businesses are increasingly aware of this fact.


Specific country studies

Photo credits

Photo credit: UN Women/Joe Saade (Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons)