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Cindy Huang is co-director of migration, displacement, and humanitarian policy and a senior policy fellow at the Center for Global Development. She works on issues related to refugees and displacement, fragile and conflict-affected states, gender equality, and development effectiveness. Previously, Huang was deputy vice president for sector operations at the Millennium Challenge Corporation where she led the strategic direction and technical oversight of a $2 billion portfolio of social sector investments. She also served in the Obama Administration as director of policy of the State Department’s Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations, and as senior advisor to the State Department’s counselor and chief of staff. In her latter role, Huang managed the interagency leadership team of Feed the Future, a presidential initiative launched by a $3.5 billion, three-year commitment to agricultural development and food security. Huang has also worked for Doctors Without Borders and the Human Development Center in Pakistan. She has a PhD in cultural anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley, an MPA from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University, and a BA in Ethics, Politics and Economics from Yale University.
“There are many barriers to employing refugees but companies should know that geography isn’t one of them. Our advice to multinational companies? Hire refugees if they can.”
Center for Global Development
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Washington – A new study finds that as many as 2.1 million working-age refugees live in urban areas in developing countries where employment opportunities could be nearby – shattering the frequently used but inaccurate depiction of refugees living mainly in desolate camps.
The study from the Center for Global Development and the Tent Partnership for Refugees is the first of its kind and estimates that there are between 915,087 and 2,186,829 working-age refugees in major urban areas in developing nations, and that 38 percent of all working-age refugees in developing countries live in major urban areas – constituting a potential hiring pipeline for many multinational, regional, and local businesses.
The researchers analyzed 31 of the 37 developing countries that host more than 25,000 refugees and mapped where refugees in those countries live. You can find the interactive map here.
“Despite the misconception that most refugees live in rural camps, 60 percent actually reside in urban areas and the overwhelming majority are in low- and middle-income countries,” said Gideon Maltz, executive director of the Tent Partnership for Refugees. “As Tent works to mobilize businesses to support refugees, these findings are critical for multinational companies and regional businesses that are looking to engage refugees where they live.
The study’s main findings include:
A large number of working-age refugees reside in major urban areas in developing countries. In fact, the report estimates that, among the 31 countries studied, between 915,087 and 2,186,829 working-age refugees live in major cities. 9 to 11 countries have more than 25,000 refugees in major cities, and 5 to 7 countries have more than 50,000 refugees in major cities.
Countries with significant numbers of working-age refugees have a large business presence. Most countries with significant overlap between urban areas and refugees are home to a substantial number of multinational corporations. In fact, the large majority of these countries have roughly 1,000 to 10,000 people employed by OECD multinational companies, suggesting viable opportunities for hiring refugees in these locations.
“There are many barriers to employing refugees but companies should know that geography isn’t one of them,” said Cindy Huang, the lead author of the study and co-director of migration, displacement, and humanitarian policy at the Center for Global Development. “Our advice to multinational companies? Hire refugees if they can.”
The study also outlines the main barriers to employment for refugees, including laws that bar refugees from employment and owning a business, as well as discrimination and restrictions on mobility within a country.
“If refugees face legal and practical barriers to accessing formal employment, businesses may not be able to work with refugees, regardless of proximity,” said Huang. “There’s a real economic opportunity here, but only if policymakers reduce these barriers to employment and support new opportunities for refugees and host communities.”
Read the full report and view the interactive map here.
Women’s economic empowerment is increasingly recognized as critical to achieving development outcomes around the world. Informed by a roundtable discussion at the Center for Global Development (CGD) and additional suggestions from CGD researchers, this four-point memo aims to issue practical proposals for the next US administration, particularly aimed at economically empowering women and girls worldwide, as a building block toward the full realization of broader gender equality and women’s agency and empowerment. The recommendations build on those in CGD’s The White House and the World briefing book, as well as the CGD policy memo “A US Law or Executive Order to Combat Gender Apartheid in Discriminatory Countries” and ongoing work at CGD focused on women’s financial inclusion.
Since its establishment more than 54 years ago, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has expanded into an $18-billion-a-year agency, operating in over 145 countries and in nearly every development sector. But USAID is often constrained in its ability to adapt to emerging development challenges due to differing political priorities among key stakeholders and resource constraints. This memo is the result of a roundtable discussion in July 2016 on how the next US administration, in close concert with Congress, can build upon and maximize the development impact of USAID.
Today, an unprecedented 65 million people—including 21 million refugees—are displaced from their homes. Still, as this report points out, the challenge is manageable—if the international community is able to get its response right. This report offers key principles for closing the humanitarian-development divide and practical guidance for designing effective compacts. We encourage policymakers and implementers alike to carefully consider these recommendations to ensure that humanitarian and development dollars have a real impact on the lives of refugees and host communities.
The US has a unique opportunity to lead in improving economic opportunities for women and girls by establishing a global vision and a corresponding fund with significant financial resources to spur change. The next US administration should allocate at least $1 billion in additional resources—equal to a little over two percent of current US overseas assistance—exclusively dedicated to advancing gender equality in developing countries, with a specific focus on improving women’s and girls’ economic opportunities and outcomes.