Exploring and Strengthening financial lives of refugees: Insights from a multi-pronged research initiative on forced displacement and the role of financial services

Authors: Hans-Martin Zademach*, , Swati Mehta Dhawan, Cath. University Eichstätt-Ingolstadt
Topics: Migration, Economic Geography, Political Geography
Keywords: Forced displacement, refugees, financial inclusion, financial services, Kenia, Jordan
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/9/2020
Start / End Time: 3:20 PM / 4:35 PM
Room: Capitol Ballroom 4, Hyatt Regency, Fourth Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Increasingly refugees are finding themselves in protracted situations, residing in host countries for twelve or more years. A majority of them live in cities and towns, rather than in refugee camps. This dispersion raises new challenges for humanitarian aid delivery and places new burdens on existing social services, but at the same time provides opportunities for refugees to integrate in local economies. Appropriate financial services can enable refugees to improve long-term resilience, allowing them to safely store money, access loans, and receive remittances and other payments. Together these services support their economic lives: find better stability, manage financial shocks, mitigate risks, and invest in business, education, training and other essential assets. The paper presents first empirical findings of an ongoing, international research project that explores the financial and economic lives of displaced people in two focus countries—Jordan and Kenya — using approaches appropriate for the sensitive context of forced displacement. In so doing, it addresses existing knowledge gaps in understanding the financial needs of refugees, how those are met by existing financial services market, and where there is need for better support.

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