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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.”
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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.
Kellyanne Conway called him a “man of action” after a whirlwind first week in which President Trump signed 14 Executive Orders and presidential memoranda, covering most of his key campaign issue areas from health to immigration to trade. In a series of blogs, CGD experts have been examining how some of these specific policy intentions could impact development progress. As you would expect from a group of economists, we believe in—and encourage—evidence-based policymaking, and here we look at what the existing evidence and research tell us about how likely these Executive Orders are to achieve the president’s stated goals.
What's going to happen in the world of development in 2018? Will we finally understand how to deal equitably with refugees and migrants? Or how technological progress can work for developing countries? Or what the impact of year two of the Trump Administration will be? Today’s podcast, our final episode of 2017, raises these questions and many more as a multitude of CGD scholars share their insights and hopes for the year ahead.
The global community is facing extraordinary shifts in forced displacement. Today, more people than ever before—65 million, including 21 million refugees—are displaced by conflict. Host countries are taking on great responsibility for these displaced populations, but with insufficient support. New partners and new models are required to meet the displacement challenge. This brief outlines a compact model with critical components, including shared outcomes for refugees, host country ownership and focus on longer-term transition, best practices for program design and management, and commitment to policy reforms.