Special Initiatives & Emergency Response

Our new partnership with the Center for Global Development will champion access to work for refugees

What if all refugees could use their skills to earn a living?
What if all refugees could use their skills to earn a living?

It’s World Refugee Day, a time to show solidarity with people who have been forcibly displaced. We’d like to thank the many communities around the world who have opened their arms to those in need and reflect on how refugees and their local communities can thrive together.

Today, we’re happy to announce a new partnership with the Center for Global Development (CGD), working to mobilise businesses to expand refugees’ access to the labour market.

For many years, the IKEA Foundation has supported our partners to create a better everyday life for refugees and the communities they live in. These include programmes that provide both refugee and host communities with access to agricultural land, training, small loans and market opportunities, enabling them to grow thriving agricultural businesses and a vibrant community.

So naturally, when we set out our new strategy, we recognised refugees as among the people we need to support, leading us to inspiring programmes and research with both existing and new partners. This includes a commitment to champion dignified employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for refugees, as well as young people and women.

Our partnership with CGD will support their work to understand barriers refugees face when accessing formal labour markets, and to mobilise businesses to expand this access. Over the next two years, they will be conducting research in Ethiopia and Kenya, alongside two other countries still to be determined.

As CGD has recently shown, restrictions on refugees that prevent them from formally entering the labour market results in costs and missed economic benefits for the host country. These include lower productivity, and forgone tax revenues, as well as lower incomes and living standards for the refugees themselves.

Once the research is complete, CGD will take the findings from the country-specific learnings and, together with their partner Tent Foundation , mobilise the private sector—nationally and globally—to engage in a way that works for host and refugee communities. CGD will be working with Refugees International, leveraging their expertise and experience to successfully complete the research and amplify the results.