The refugee crisis is among the defining social crises of our time. Over 70 million people are currently forcibly displaced worldwide – and that number is projected to grow to over 300 million by 2030.
Successful attempts to bring persistent stability and self-reliance to refugee populations have been limited. While foreign assistance and humanitarian aid are vital and often heroic, neither are sustainable in the long-term, reliable over the short-term, or capable of providing pathways to capital that are necessary to help spur refugee entrepreneurship and self-reliance at scale.
The crisis demands creative private capital solutions and sustainable investments, but investors and funders alike struggle to identify, assess, and structure deals in a nascent refugee investment field that is largely underdeveloped, fragmented, and perceived as risky. Meanwhile, refugees face many barriers to building their new lives in host countries, including restrictive economic policies, challenges integrating into host communities, and high perceived risk by employers and investors.
From “burden” to opportunity: The RIN’s focus on refugees
The narrative around refugees is changing. Leading investors are starting to see the reality behind forcibly displaced populations – that they are resilient, resourceful, entrepreneurial, and investable.
Together with humanitarians, policymakers, and displaced people themselves, the RIN is working to bridge the gap between this increasing number of investors interested in refugee investments and the growing ecosystem of refugee entrepreneurs and ventures.
Our report “Paradigm Shift: How Investment Can Unlock the Potential of Refugees,” presented the first landscape for refugee investments and features both data and stories showing how refugees are investable. The RIN has established the first Refugee Lens for investors to identify and qualify deals, provided important resources for investors and refugee entrepreneurs, and is collecting refugee success stories to chart the trajectory of this new narrative.
As we focus on mobilizing capital for refugee investments, we also know that supporting refugees means supporting building a more inclusive world overall – in fact, the refugee crisis cuts across 13 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.