As conflicts across the globe continue, the number of people displaced by conflict has reached record levels. Of the more than 100 million forcibly displaced persons worldwide, an estimated 74 percent of them are hosted in low and middle-income countries, often by communities facing similar socioeconomic challenges.
Some of these displaced people face the very real prospect of never being able to return home. Data from UNHCR highlights that the average time for refugees to stay within a camp is now about 17 years. Given the protracted nature of forced displacement, the global community is combining humanitarian assistance with longer-term development support to help refugees become more self-reliant so that they can contribute more to their own futures and to their host communities.
IFC works with the World Bank, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and other partners to identify how the private sector can engage with refugees and their host communities to promote inclusive economic opportunities and improve access to services. We aim to:
- Create jobs by boosting access to finance and entrepreneurship
- Improve the delivery of basic services like education and energy
- Encourage business-friendly policies in refugee-hosting areas
- Share lessons learned while deepening partnerships
In December 2022, IFC and UNHCR launched a Joint Initiative: Creating Markets in Forced Displacement Contexts. This partnership builds on several years of collaboration in multiple countries to support private sector engagement and unlock the economic potential of refugees and host communities. The joint initiative has a global geographic mandate and allows IFC and UNHCR to scale their efforts to help people who are forcibly displaced to live more dignified lives, while contributing to the development of local economies and markets, in alignment with the spirit of the Global Compact on Refugees.
We are also partnering with the Netherlands on the PROSPECTS Initiative to support the socioeconomic integration of forcibly displaced people in the Middle East and East Africa. In 2021, we added a $17.5 million blended finance investment facility to help de-risk and increase the financial viability of projects that benefit refugees and forcibly displaced persons (FDPs) and their host communities in Egypt, Ethiopia, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Sudan, and Uganda.