In recent years, humanitarian organizations, development finance institutions, and even presidents have pushed for increased private sector engagement to address the global refugee crisis. As the number of displaced people rises, traditional donor aid can no longer meet the needs of the growing refugee population. Less than 55% of the required funding was provided in 2018, down from 58% in 2016. Beyond meeting the funding shortfalls, more private sector players are stepping up. Companies are increasingly creating durable solutions to the crisis by designing business models in collaboration with humanitarian organisations and forming partnerships with refugee businesses. Many firms view supporting refugee communities solely as corporate social responsibility (CSR) and overlook the numerous economic and strategic opportunities in refugee settings. Displaced people are not just refugees; they are employees and employers, consumers and suppliers, and business and political leaders.
In this brief, we explore how the private sector can develop commercially-viable programs in refugee settings that 1) strengthen access to affordable education; 2) provide capital to scale refugee-inclusive businesses; 3) support market access for refugee-owned enterprises. These solutions not only empower refugee communities, but they also create a pool of talent, a thriving market place, and enhanced partnership opportunities for the private sector.
This brief is co-authored by the Amahoro Coalition and Innovest Advisory.