In October 2015, Foreign Affairs published an article by Professor Alexander Betts (RSC Director) and Professor Sir Paul Collier (of Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government) proposing a new approach to the Syrian refugee crisis: the establishment of special economic zones in Jordan where displaced Syrians could work. This approach, they argued, could provide Syrians with jobs, education and autonomy while advancing Jordan’s development.
This week, as reported in Refugees Deeply, a deal has been finalized between the EU and Jordan that sees this proposal come closer to reality. The deal grants “trade concessions in exchange for work opportunities for refugees… it will apply to 52 product groups that are manufactured in special economic zones (SEZs), on the condition that producers employ more Syrian refugees. The requirement for workforces is at least 15 percent Syrian participation now, rising to one quarter after three years.”
Described in the article as “one of the most important economic experiments in the world today”, the deal represents an important development in the plan to increase legal employment opportunities for refugees.
Read the Refugees Deeply article, ‘Jordan Experiment Spurs Jobs for Refugees’