IFC UNHCR Joint Initiative - Learning

Latest publications from external parties


How Refugee Entrepreneurs in the Levant Region are Growing their Businesses


Private sector solutions at the Global Refugee Forum

An Audiostory


Financial and economic inclusion of Venezuelan migrants and refugees in Peru

Gap Assessment

Generating Jobs for Refugees and their Host Communities

Advancing Refugee Entrepreneurship: Guidelines for the Private Sector, Governments, and the Development Community

Generating Jobs for Refugees and their Host Communities

© UNHCR/Helene Caux

Financial inclusion for refugees and migrants in Latin America

A market opportunity for financial service providers

External courses


Market-based livelihood interventions for refugees and host communities

International Training Center (ITC), International Labour Organization (ILO)

ITC discover
PS4R discover

World Bank, Private Sector For Refugees

Understanding the Private Sector/Refugees Link

Online training

Disclaimer: The content featured on this is provided for informational purposes only. The IFC UNHCR Joint Initiative does not endorse or take responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information contained in these reports. The views and opinions expressed in the reports belong solely to the respective authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the joint initiative or its affiliated organizations. Users are advised to exercise their own judgment and discretion when relying on the information provided in these reports.

Latest Publications


Why and How Multilateral Development Banks Support Improved Outcomes for Economic Migrants and Refugees

Economic migrants and refugees can bring both benefits and costs to their hosting countries. If well-integrated, they can support themselves, their families, and their hosting countries as producers and consumers. Both economic migration and forced displacement are therefore integrally linked with development outcomes. Recognizing this, multilateral development banks (MDBs) are supporting their beneficiary member countries to improve outcomes for economic migrants and refugees, in the form of billions of dollars in grants and loans, as well as technical assistance, policy dialogues, and knowledge exchanges. This paper provides an introductory snapshot of some of the financing instruments, projects, and strategies used; particularly innovative approaches; and challenges MDBs face in expanding their engagement. It is hoped this paper will be useful to anyone who engages with MDBs and wants to understand how they engage on economic migration and forced displacement, particularly as these issues continue to grow in importance.


The problem with emergency aid’s growing reliance on corporations

Humanitarians are growing dependent on corporate giants to power emergency response.

News and stories

Advisory Model Partnership Playbook

The “Advisory Model'' is an innovative finance concept developed by the IRC with the support of the Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations; a tool for investor and humanitarian partners to develop impactful cross-sector partnerships – allowing a “humanitarian in residence” to strengthen and support MDB, DFI, and private sector investments – from venture capital to private equity - in fragile/conflict settings. IRC is currently piloting several advisory partnerships, addressing challenges from wastewater and infrastructure to climate financing and economic development.

Investor-Humanitarian Partnerships

Are MDBs Actually Implementing Reforms?

Urgent development and climate finance needs have rightly pushed multilateral development banks (MDBs) center stage as finance leaders grapple with how to transform the international financial architecture to meet the needs of the moment. MDBs have the financial and non-financial tools, the on-the-ground presence, the knowledge, and the policy credibility to help countries integrate and finance development and climate objectives. But there is broad agreement that their twentieth century model needs to be transformed to achieve twenty-first century priorities and finance scale.


Competing for Talent

Many countries in Europe and beyond are contending with acute labor shortages and looking to immigration as one policy option to sustain and support economic growth, alongside efforts to retrain local workers and improve productivity. At the same time, lower- and middle-income countries with fast-growing populations are exploring ways to better link their nationals with economic opportunities at home and abroad. Legal migration pathways that connect unemployed workers in such countries with hard-to-fill jobs abroad are thus gaining interest in both origin and destination countries. To date, however, employment- and skills-based mobility projects have encountered challenges in fully realizing their anticipated benefits. These include difficulties building up project infrastructure and securing private-sector engagement. As a result, many have facilitated the movement of small numbers of people. This policy brief explores the case for employment- and skills-based mobility projects, looking at how different types of cooperation can support legal migration pathways, as well as common challenges these projects face. The brief also discusses strategies for achieving economies of scale and these projects' unique value—including the chance they offer to test new migration corridors or new recruitment models, while broadening cooperation opportunities with partner countries.


Refugee Education Financing : Key Facts and Findings

This paper, along with its accompanying data, provides the first comprehensive analysis on financing for refugee education in low- and middle-income countries. By compiling and scrutinizing data on host government financing, foreign aid contributions, and philanthropic giving, a consolidated and quantified overview of all major sources of financing for refugee education in low- and middle-income countries is produced. This data is then analyzed to reveal key trends and patterns in refugee education financing, existing financing gaps, and potential biases in financing allocations. These findings are explored in the 10 facts and findings outlined in this paper, and summarized in Box 1 below. It is hoped that this dataset and analysis will help to improve the understanding of financing for refugee education in low- and middle-income countries and inform future discussion and debate on refugee education financing.


The role of political will in enabling long-term development approaches to forced displacement

This paper examines the role of mobilising political will in establishing the conditions necessary for economic and social inclusion of refugees, internally displaced persons, and formerly displaced persons who achieve durable solutions such as voluntary return. It investigates the role and conditions to mobilise political will for more comprehensive and inclusive policies that can lead to long-term local development in contexts of forced displacement in low- and middle-income countries (LICs and MICs). Case studies from Bangladesh, Cameroon, Ecuador, Iraq and Lebanon illustrate the ways in which political will, or its absence, can shape the approach to supporting the forcibly displaced and hosting communities. The paper also proposes a conceptual model for mobilising political will to facilitate sustainable development support in contexts of forced displacement.

Political will

Risky Business: Renewing the Private Sector Reform Agenda at the World Bank

In the field of development finance, the challenge of marshalling private investment in support of development goals is among the most vexing, and one that World Bank President Ajay Banga—a former Mastercard executive—has touted as a top priority.

News and stories

Flipping the Narrative

Refugees are often depicted as economic burdens on the communities where they have found safety, and on the international aid system. This overlooks the fact that 55% of refugees live in countries where their right to work and fully participate in society is restricted.

News and stories

Analysis of the impact of refugees from Ukraine on the economy of Poland

Initially, it was manifested primarily through higher consumption financed mainly by increased spending by the government and humanitarian organisations. Despite being forced to flee their homes, refugees from Ukraine very quickly entered the labour market as employees and entrepreneurs. In our study, we take a closer look at this phenomenon and analyse its economic impact on the Polish economy, comprehensively considering the supply side of the economy, including labour supply and productivity, and the demand side, estimating by how much this has collectively raised Polish GDP.

Economic impact

Venezuelans in Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru

The Venezuelan exodus is the largest migration flow of its kind in the recent history of the Latin American and the Caribbean (LAC)region. It represents the secondlargest population flow in the world (surpassed only by that of the Ukraine crisis) and the largest flow in the world for a non-conflict country. Since 2015, over seven million Venezuelans—about a quarter of the country’s population—have left the country, escaping economic collapse, political persecution, and an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. The majority of these people (over six million) have settled in countries in the LAC region. Some have made their way to other countries, mainly the United States and Spain. This report examines their situation in the four main host countries: Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Chile.

Venezuelan refugees and migrants

Rebuilding Lives in Brazil

News and stories

Kiva refugee lending spotlight

Case study

UNHCR - Improving Digital Livelihood Opportunities for Refugees

This research explores the needs, priorities, challenges, and risks faced by refugees engaged in the digital economy, drawing on findings from 62 community-based workshops with 541 participants, held across seven countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and East and Horn of Africa and the Great Lakes (EHAGL) regions. Learnings and practical recommendations provided through this research were co-created with refugee community members and will form the basis of our ongoing strategy to promote an inclusive digital economy for refugees and host communities. We hope that, in turn, this research – and the participatory ethos underpinning it – will serve to guide global stakeholders in shaping the digital livelihoods programming and strategies of the future. A short, shareable blog based on the in-depth report has also been published and is available here.


AFGHANISTAN – WB Private Sector Rapid Survey (PSRS)

The World Bank Group´s latest Private Sector Rapid Survey (PSRS) on Afghanistan. Businesses are still contending with a severely constrained banking and financial sector and lack of consumer demand.

private sector

Private Sector Solutions to Africa's Displacement Crisis.


Case Study

A large camp in Kenya currently hosts refugees from more than five different nations, currently serving a population of over 200,000, delivering services in protection, safety, dignity, and security, with specialized support to women and children’s mental health. Divided into four areas, the camps are not currently connected to any power grids, with power connections to neighboring communities an unreliable solution. IRC healthcare facilities are currently reliant on diesel to power their services. Nearly 100% of the basic needs of the camp’s population are delivered through development partners and funded by aid. For example, humanitarian organizations provide cash transfers to clients, many of whom spend these resources on energy for cooking and lighting. Current conditions are unsustainable.


Creating employment opportunities for Syrian refugees in Turkey.

A partnership between the international NGOs SPARK and Qatar Charity, supported by Qatar Fund for Development, aims to expand routes to formal employment for refugees in Turkey. For further information follow this link.


The Costs Come before the Benefits

When host countries allow refugees to earn income, two main groups benefit: refugees, who become financially autonomous, and international institutions that can reduce the humanitarian aid that would otherwise be needed to support refugees. Uganda is one of the more progressive countries when it comes to promoting the financial independence of refugees and shifting from humanitarian aid to development ways of working. This note considers how successful refugees in Uganda have been in becoming financially independent and estimates how assistance has been saved due to these efforts at economic inclusion. Using the international poverty line of US$2.15 in 2017 purchasing power parities to proxy the costs of basic needs, the results suggest that the amount of total aid needed was reduced by almost 45 percent. They also show that many refugees live in poverty, implying that the present combination of aid and work is inadequate to assure a decent standard of living. While more assistance is needed in the short run, reductions in development assistance are feasible but require upfront investments in refugee earning capacity to realize them.


UNHCR : Global survey on livelihoods and economic inclusion report

The third edition of the Global Survey on Livelihoods and Economic Inclusion, conducted biennially by the Livelihoods and Economic Inclusion Unit in the Division of Resilience and Solutions at UNHCR HQ, sheds light on the economic landscapes of refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced persons, returnees, and stateless individuals and delves into the enabling environments in UNHCR country operations.


CGD Podcast: Decarbonization, MDB Reform, and the Private Sector with Ahmed Saeed

Over the summer, CGD launched the MDB Reform Accelerator, a hub for evidence-based analysis and strategic outreach around MDB reform. As part of that initiative, we're hosting a set of conversations around private capital mobilization on the CGD Podcast with experts in both private and public funding to find out: What's worked? What needs to change? And where can we go from here?


Small Businesses in Fragility


UNHCR: Forced displacement continues to grow as conflicts escalate


Digital Frontier


The Nexus in practice


Addressing forced displacement in climate change adaptation


Social protection for the forcibly displaced in low- and middle-income countries


Empowering migrants and communities


Best Practices from the East, Horn of Africa and Great Lakes Region


Refugees and internally displaced persons in development planning.


Refugee-Related Investment: Myth or Reality?


Refugee entrepreneurship in Rwanda


How Do Migrants Fare in Latin America and the Caribbean?

Over the last decade, the migration landscape in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) has changed significantly. In this context, the socio-economic integration of immigrants is an increasingly high priority on the regional development and policy agenda. For this reason, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have collaborated on this joint exercise that builds on OECDs previous experience in measuring migrant inclusion as well as IDBs expertise in building data around the state of migration in Latin America and the Caribbean, and UNDPs presence on the ground and experience working with national and local governments in the region to advance their development priorities. This report provides a general overview of the state of socio-economic integration of migrants in 12 LAC countries by 2021. It presents a series of quantitative indicators related with, for instance, labor market informality, self-employment, youth employment, school attendance, reading literacy and living conditions. This exercise also relies on selected policy indicators that shed light on the regulatory framework within which migrants integration takes place. The objective is to provide decisionmakers and policymakers in host countries with useful indicators to better understand where the gaps are in terms of migrants integration and to help them identify the areas where they should focus their efforts and scarce resources.

socioeconomic integration

ILO - The humanitarian development nexus in action

Through this research, ILO and UNHCR set out to better understand the implications and impact at the intersection or nexus of humanitarian support and market-based interventions for development and livelihoods in forced displacement contexts, based on a literature review and deep dive cases (Ethiopia, Uganda, Lebanon, Nigeria, Jordan, Zambia, Niger)


Reckoning with Reality


Taking Stock of MDB and DFI Innovations for Mobilizing Private Capital for Development

To support the 2030 Agenda, MDBs and DFIs have been asked to mobilize more private capital alongside their own investments in private firms. Mobilization volumes to date remain small, but progress has been made in developing new models that can attract different types of private investors at greater scale. From an historic focus on transaction-level mobilization from commercial banks, and issuing bonds to institutional investors, MDBs and DFIs have broadened the range of financial structures they use, and broadened the range of investors that they mobilize capital from, including institutional investors. Innovation and experimentation have occurred both at the level of individual transactions and at the level of portfolios of assets. Scaling up multi-asset mobilization involves a shift in business model from “originate to hold” to “originate to share.” To further implement this model, MDBs and DFIs need to increase their capacity to originate assets, standardize asset terms and documents, pool assets in shared vehicles, share risk data, and be more strategic about selling assets. DFIs that do not currently do so can also mobilize private capital by issuing bonds.


Corporate Leaders in Refugee Economic Integration


Overcoming behavioral biases for Venezuelan migrants' financial inclusion in Peru


Development Finance for Refugee Situations, Volumes and Trends, 2020-2021


Working for Inclusion


For Venezuelans in Colombia, Micro-loans Offer a Fresh Start

News and stories

Global Roadmap for Refugee Entrepreneurship

This study mapped refugee entrepreneurship activities that are being delivered through UNHCR country operations, implementing partners, and in partnership with other players. It also reflects on emerging practices in the field for strategic guidance


Consumer and Market Study in Southwest and West Nile Refugee-Hosting Areas in Uganda


Mapping Private Sector Engagement Along the Migration Cycle


Private Sector & Refugees

Government of Mexico

The role of the private sector in economic integration of refugees


A Refugee Community in Kenya is Open for Business

Market Study