Learning memos: Inclusive private sector development in forced displacement contexts

The learning memos capture key discussions and takeaways from the technical knowledge-sharing event on engaging and developing the private sector in the humanitarian-development-peace nexus organized by ILO PROSPECTS.

Record of proceedings | 23 January 2024
ILO PROSPECTS first technical knowledge-sharing event on private sector engagement in contexts of forced displacement was held 17-19 October 2023 in Kampala, Uganda.

The event provided an open forum for refugee and host community entrepreneurs, government officials, financial institutions, private sector representatives and other key actors to share and learn from experiences in implementation. Participants explored practical experiences in formal and informal business development, financial inclusion, market-based approaches, cooperative solutions and private sector engagement.

Through presentations, panel discussions and in-depth breakout sessions, this 3-day learning event offered lessons from different countries. This included challenges related to recognition of refugee identity documents, refugee specific barriers to formalization, development partner’s role in de-risking private sector investments and recognition of the complexity of market systems in displacement contexts. Learning memos summarize key points of discussion and takeaways from the different sessions.

17 October 2023

Entrepreneur perspectives: What does it take for forcibly displaced entrepreneurs to succeed?

Setting the practical and solution-oriented tone of the conference, two refugee entrepreneurs presented their experiences of establishing businesses and overcoming various challenges in the process. Other contributions on the topic covered initiatives to make business development services accessible and affordable for refugees and helping them transition from humanitarian grants to commercial loans to address market distortions.

Learning memo

18 October 2023

Access to finance in the context of displacement

The pressing issue of financial barriers hindering business start-up and growth among displaced populations was addressed in this session. Several initiatives supporting access to finance for refugees in the PROSPECTS programme have shown the potential of enabling entrepreneurship and economic growth, essential to improve self-reliance of displaced populations and to contribute to local economic growth and build more sustainable local economies.

Learning memo

Forging win-win situations: Market and intervention strategies of engagement

Discussions explored strategies to involve the private sector more effectively in supporting displaced populations. A re-occurring theme underscored the need to develop coherent, market driven approaches and enabling a sustainable transition out of a purely humanitarian response to support private sector's development in the delivery of goods and services.

Learning memo

Private sector views on engagement in forced displacement contexts

Participants covered challenges affecting private sector engagement in fragile environments, pointing to the urgent need for co-creation, collective learning and effective coordination between humanitarian and development partners. De-risking and risk sharing were presented as models to engage the private sector in early stages of investment, enabling greater trust between the private sector, refugees and host community members.

Learning memo

19 October 2023

Conducive environment for private sector development in forced displacement contexts

The learning event concluded with discussion on efforts to promote refugees’ rights to work, access finance, create businesses and engage in cooperative development. Between countries, common constraints reflected a lack of funding and information on formalizing businesses, movement restrictions on refugees and the difficulty to obtain work permits.

Learning memo