DCED Synthesis Note: private sector development for refugees
Synthesis Note: Private Sector Development for Refugees, DCED, 2017. This 6-page note summarises key research on using private sector development to assist refugees. It includes three key take-aways:
- More than 25 million people are asylum-seekers or refugees. While many have arrived in Europe, even more are displaced in their home countries or flee to neighbouring countries.
- The private sector can be central to assisting refugees and addressing conflict or economic drivers of migration. Strategies include (1) supporting new economic opportunities and adaptation of livelihoods to climate change at refugees’ places of origin; 2) enhancing existing income generation activities of refugees to reduce reliance on aid, e.g. through market systems approaches; and (3) leveraging resources of the diaspora as well as private investors to boost humanitarian assistance and productive investments in affected regions.
- OECD-DAC donors also increasingly use aid funds domestically to address needs of refugees that arrive in their territories. However, legal and language barriers can prevent refugees from integrating into the formal labour market and become more self-reliant.
Key overview documents
- Private Sector and Refugees: Pathways to Scale, IFC/Bridgespan, May 2019. Surveyed over 170 private sector initiatives in Africa and the Middle East, finding five main pathways through which firms engage with refugees and host communities. Calls for a change in mindset, for the private sector to engage with refugees and refugee contexts in innovative ways.
- Mind the gap: bringing migration into development partnerships and vice versa, BMZ/Migration Policy Institute, 2018. This policy brief analyses the benefits and risks of heightened cooperation between actors in migration and development, and identifies areas where joint initiatives may prove fruitful.
- Making waves: implications of the irregular migration and refugee situation on ODA spending and practices in Europe, ECDPM, 2017. In-donor refugee costs have increased dramatically in some (principally European) countries. This has prompted a huge shift in aid expenditure. This paper examines this issue in five case studies on Sweden, Denmark, Germany, The Netherlands and the European Commission.
- UNHCR viewpoint: ‘Refugee’ or ‘migrant’ – Which is right? UNHCR, 2016. These two terms have distinct and politically-charged meanings. This note provides clarity on the definitions of “refugee” and “migrant”, and advice on their correct usage.
- The world’s refugee crisis needs both a humanitarian and longer-term response, World Bank, 2016. This blog, by the World Bank’s president, gives a general overview of the challenge that refugees pose to development organisations. It also calls for greater cooperation between the humanitarian and development communities.
- Migration and development: a role for the world bank group, World Bank, 2016. This paper highlights the benefits and costs associated with global labour mobility in both sending and receiving countries. Although it focuses on regular migration, it also has important implications for refugees.
- Protracted displacement: uncertain paths to self-reliance in exile, ODI, 2015. This paper presents a basic typology for where assistance is needed in protracted displacement, and what kind of assistance may be best suited to the situation at hand.
Addressing the root causes of migration
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, to mitigate the effects of climate change, and to reduce conflict, are discussed in the publications listed below.
- Self-employment and migration, World Bank, 2019. Finds that across 8 countries the
self-employed are less likely to migrate than wage workers or the unemployed.
- Should I Stay or Should I Go: Do Cash Transfers Affect Migration? World Bank, 2018.
- Does rural development aid reduce international migration? World Development, 2018. Concludes that rural development deters emigration, but that urban development does not.
- Can Development Assistance Deter Emigration? Center for Global Development, 2018 Concludes that economic development typically raises migration.
- Understanding the root causes of displacement: towards a comprehensive approach to prevention and solutions, IDMC, 2015
- Towards understanding and addressing the root causes of displacement, Danish Refugee Council, 2015
- Migration and environmental change: assessing the developing European approach, Migration Policy Institute, 2013
- The Economic and Fiscal Effects of Granting Refugees Formal Labour Market Access, CGD 2018
- Migration as an opportunity: evidence of labour migration initiatives, ODI, 2018.
- Are refugees located near urban job opportunities? Centre for Global Development, 2018.
- The impact of livelihood opportunities and interventions on migration, DFID, 2018.
- Refugee markets brief: the power of markets to support refugee economic opportunities in West Nile, Uganda, Mercy Corps, 2018
- Guide to market-based livelihood interventions for refugees, ILO/UNHCR, 2017
Alex Betts, Director of Oxford University’s Refugee Studies Centre, talks about creating opportunities for refugees, while benefiting host communities (2016).
- Building Livelihood Opportunities for Refugee Populations: Lessons from Past Practice, Migration Policy Institute, 2016
- Helping refugees build a future, BMZ, 2016
- Cash delivery mechanism assessment tool, UNHCR, 2016
- Refugee livelihoods in protracted displacement, ODI, 2017
- Global Strategy for livelihoods 2014-2017, UNHCR, 2014
- The labour market integration of resettled refugees, UNHCR, 2013
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.
- Return Migration and Economic Outcomes in the Conflict Context, GLMLIC, 2016
- Promoting diaspora engagement: what have we learnt?, ICMPD, 2016
- Diaspora engagement on country entrepreneurship and investment ICMPD, 2016
- Examining the impact of UNIDO’s training on the economic reintegration of repatriated refugees in Liberia, UNIDO 2015
- Global refugee work rights report, Asylum Access, 2014
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.
- Global Business and Refugee Crises: A Framework for Sustainable Engagement, Center for Global Development, 2017.
- UNHCR online portal for Private Sector Engagement
- The contribution of the private sector to solutions for displacement, Forced Migration Review, 2016
- Humanitarian crises, emergency preparedness and response: the role of business and the private sector, ODI, 2014
Specific country studies
- Kakuma as a Marketplace: A consumer and market study of a refugee camps and town in northwest Kenya, IFC, 2018. Finds that 180,000 refugees create a vibrant private sector, and constitute an important market opportunity.
- Refugee markets brief: The power of markets to support refugee economic opportunities in West Nile, Uganda, Mercy Corps, 2018
- The Labour Market Impacts of Forced Migration (Burundi and Tanzania), GLMLIC, 2017
- Zambia refugees economies: livelihoods and challenges, UNHCR, 2017
- The Economics of Hosting Refugees: A Host Community Perspective from Turkana (Kenya), World Bank, 2017
- The Welfare of Syrian Refugees : Evidence from Jordan and Lebanon, World Bank, 2016
- The Impact of Syrian Refugees on the Turkish Labor Market, World Bank, 2015
- Refugee livelihoods and the private sector: Ugandan case study, Refugees Study Centre (Oxford University), 2012