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Refugee entrepreneurship in Rwanda

Entrepreneurship plays a central role in Rwanda’s approach to refugee self-reliance and economic integration. In recent years, Rwanda has made significant progress in promoting refugees’ freedom of movement, access to documentation, and right to work, thus creating a friendly environment for business development. To evaluate the opportunities and challenges of refugee entrepreneurship as a vehicle for self-reliance and economic integration in Rwanda, the Refugee Economies Programme conducted qualitative research with Burundian refugee entrepreneurs in two sites: Mahama refugee camp and the capital city of Kigali. This research brief shows how refugees take advantage of their freedom of movement to establish trade networks and engage with the Rwandan economy, explores some of the differences between refugee enterprises in Mahama and Kigali, and includes recommendations for policymakers and development and humanitarian actors for enhancing the feasibility and impact of entrepreneurship support for refugees in Rwanda.



Research in Brief


Refugee Studies Centre

Publication Date



RSC Research in Brief 20

Total pages