Press Release

New Analysis: Hosting Ukrainian Refugees Could Cost Nations Around the World an Estimated $30 Billion

March 01, 2022
Contact: Eva Grant
Center for Global Development
+1 (202) 416-4027

“With the right to work, refugees can benefit their host economies in the long-term, but there are start-up costs”

WASHINGTON, DC—Hosting and integrating Ukrainian refugees could cost host nations an estimated $30 billion in the first year alone, according to a new analysis from the Center for Global Development (CGD). Those costs include everything from accommodation and meals for refugees to the administrative costs of processing and placing new arrivals.

To estimate the overall costs, researchers at the Center for Global Development looked at the costs of hosting refugees during other recent conflicts (e.g. Syrian refugees in Germany) and took into account the current cost of living in countries likely to host the most Ukrainian refugees. The analysis uses the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee’s early projection that there could be up to 4 million Ukrainian refugees.

“Accepting refugees is not just the right thing to do, but the smart thing. We know that in the long-term, granted the right to work, refugees can benefit their host economies. But in the short run, there are major start-up costs to integrating refugees. Ukraine’s neighbors are providing a huge humanitarian benefit to Ukraine and to the world, and they shouldn’t have to bear those costs alone,” said Helen Dempster, Assistant Program Director for Migration, Displacement, and Humanitarian Policy at CGD.

The researchers highlighted an existing World Bank fund, the Global Concessional Finance Facility (GCFF), which was created to support countries that hosted refugees from Syria and Venezuela, as a mechanism to help Ukraine’s neighbors in the region pay for the costs of hosting refugees. But the researchers estimate that the GCFF would currently only mobilize about $600 million in concessional financing, a fraction of what is needed.

“We know that the GCFF is an effective tool, but it needs more money from donors now,” said Nancy Lee, co-author of the analysis and senior policy fellow at CGD. “This is a time for global solidarity and Ukraine’s neighbors – especially poorer countries – should not have to bear this cost alone.”

Read the full analysis at /blog/international-financial-institutions-must-help-ukrainian-people