10:00—11:30 AM ET

From Displacement to Development: Challenges and Opportunities to the Economic Inclusion of Venezuelans in Colombia



  • Helen Dempster, Assistant Director & Senior Associate, Center for Global Development
  • Martha Guerrero Ble, Program Associate, Refugees International
  • Lucas Gómez, Advisor to the President of Colombia for the Colombian-Venezuelan Border
  • Taimur Samad, World Bank
  • Ana Eugenia Durán, IOM Chief of Mission in Colombia
  • Fredy Laiton, Representative of Sunshine Bouquet
  • Toni Vitola, Vice President of COLVENZ, Venezuelan community in Colombia


  • Stéphanie López, Non-resident contractor, Labor Market Access Project at Center for Global Development & Refugees International

In the past years, the economic, political, and social collapse of Venezuela has pushed over 5 million Venezuelans to seek protection abroad. With around 1.8 million Venezuelans, Colombia is hosting more displaced Venezuelans than any other country in the world. Colombia has implemented a robust humanitarian response and measures to integrate them into the economy. Yet, despite the generous support, hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans still face practical and legal barriers to obtain formal jobs. A situation that has been exacerbated due to COVID-19, which has caused massive layoffs in Colombia, with particularly devastating effects to Venezuelans.

This event, organized by Refugees International and the Center for Global Development (CGD) as part of the “Let Them Work” Initiative, will discuss the status of the economic inclusion of Venezuelans in Colombia, its potential benefits, and possible solutions in the context of COVID. Panelists and speakers will discuss the dynamics of Venezuelan economic inclusion and possible solutions to generate opportunities and development for all.

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