In the latest issue, Global Citizen magazine talks to the RSC Director, Professor Alexander Betts, about his research into refugee economies, refugee diaspora, and the politics of the refugee ‘crisis’.
He highlights the economic benefits of hosting refugees, citing his research in Uganda where 21% of refugees run a business that employs at least one other person, of whom 40% are Ugandan nationals.
Economics aside, his research on refugee diaspora highlights the importance of creating ‘enabling environments’ where refugees can thrive and where political opposition to authoritarian governments can be mobilised. As he says, “This has implications for Syria, North Korea and Russia where if we want to create political transformation, how we respond to the diaspora abroad can make all the difference.”
Betts also talks about the need for change to the current refugee system, so people are provided with “jobs, education, access to capital and the internet as well as…the ability to move freely”. He highlights the example of the King Hussein Bin Talal Development Area near Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan, where a pilot programme is underway for a Special Economic Zone wherein refugees are allowed to work in exchange for investment and trade incentives from the World Bank, the EU, and private corporations.
Read the full article here >>
Refuge: Transforming a Broken Refugee System (forthcoming March 2017)