Special economic zones can benefit both Syrian refugees and their host countries | Alexander Betts
- 18 January 2016
- Media coverage
SciDev.Net explores this development-based approach to the refugee crisis
In November, Professor Alexander Betts and Professor Sir Paul Collier (Blavatnik School of Government) wrote an op-ed in Foreign Affairs proposing a development-based approach to the Syrian refugee crisis, a strategy that could benefit both refugees and host countries: special economic zones (SEZs) designed to drive industrial development. This idea has been attracting attention, with an article by Shyamantha Asokan published on Friday on SciDev.Net.
Asokan spoke to Betts about this strategy, who said “The challenge is: how do we enable refugees not to be perceived as a burden, but as a benefit and an opportunity for the host country?” Refugees currently face significant restrictions on their right to work in many countries, but the proposed SEZs would allow them to work for SEZ businesses alongside local people, and the growth of industry would generate further jobs. One possibility is the King Hussein Bin Talal Development Area in Jordan which has received 100 million dinars (US$140 million) of investment by the government, but currently lacks businesses and workers.