Bringing Economic Solutions to Business and Refugees
The private sector is key to ensuring the economic integration of refugees into host communities – its expertise, technology and networks are pivotal for creating economic opportunity. According to UNHCR (2020), worldwide displacement topped 79 million in 2019, including some 26 million refugees. Integrating refugees into local economies and the global supply chain is vital for long-term, sustainable livelihoods for refugees and host communities.
Local and global businesses can help overcome these challenges by engaging refugees not only as aid recipients, but as employees, producers, investees, and customers. Companies can achieve or enhance social impact, gain reputational benefits, and build brand loyalty while maintaining or enhancing their bottom line.
The “Private Sector for Refugees” initiative (PS4R) was launched in 2019 and brings together actors from the development finance, humanitarian, and business communities to help bridge the historical divide between humanitarian and development work on one side, and commercially-driven business operations on the other. By doing so, the partnership can facilitate the role of business in providing practical solutions to support and empower refugees to become positive contributors to host economies.
Why should the private sector work with refugees?
The business case for working with refugees:
- Refugees are entrepreneurial and proven to be credit-worthy
- Refugees are engaged employees. Hiring them contributes to a more diverse workforce
- Working with refugees can translate into access to new consumers and markets
- Supporting refugees has a positive impact on brand reputation
- Promoting the economic integration of refugees into the host country contributes to increased social cohesion and national growth
How can business work with refugees?
Companies can engage with refugees in many ways:
- By promoting refugee entrepreneurship
- By employing refugees
- By investing in companies that are owned by, employ, or support refugees in one way or other
- By targeting products and services for refugees