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16 October, 2023 (NAIROBI Kenya): The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), in collaboration with Africa Development Bank (AfDB)  has Conducted a Regional Public – private Dialogues program on enhancing the Investment Climate for the Economic Empowerment of Refugee, Returnee and Host/Return Community Women in the East and Horn of Africa and Great Lakes Region, Today, in Nairobi, Kenya.

The main objective of the two- day deliberation is to validate the findings of the study and developing recommendations to address possible opportunities to expand market access and improve the investment climate for refugee participation in the economy.

Speaking on behalf of Madam Fathia Alwan, Director for Health and Social Development, IGAD, Mr. Fisseha Meseret, Program Officer, Health and Social Development Division Explained that  IGAD strongly believes the  Private sector actors can transform into refugee-inclusive businesses by integrating refugees as employees, suppliers, distributors, and consumers through a lens that considers their unique needs, opportunities and challenges.

“It is my honor to assure you that IGAD will work closely with you and is dedicated to support such kinds of very useful conferences. We strongly believe that it is high time to work hand in hand to boost up the lives of the people of concern.” Mr. Fisseha stressed.

He further emphasized that IGAD has assisted member states to work together to accommodate the private sector in order to boost the livelihoods of refugees, IDPs and host communities residing in all member states.

In her welcoming remarks, Terhas Berhe,  Our Representative, UNHCR, Kenya Operations, disclosed that the partnership on the pubic private sector should be continued and thanked IGAD, EAC and the Kenyan Government and people for hosting this important meeting.

In her remarks, Jocelyne Ade- Ledgre, Principal Investment Climate Regulatory officer, AfDB stated that this dialogue will improve the livelihoods of the refugees and hosts in many ways.

“I am grateful for the government of Kenya, UNHCR, IGAD and EAC for organizing this important platform. “She said.

She further mentioned that AfDB is committed to uphold the investment climate of refugees and hosts in the region.

It is stated on the occasion that the program is to identify and lay the foundation to address the legal, regulatory, procedural, and infrastructural barriers to the economic empowerment of refugee, returnee and host/return community and identify sectors of competitive advantage for investment and trade in selected refugee-hosting and return areas.

The meeting brought together participants from UNHCR Regional Bureau-Nairobi, UNHCR Kenya Operation, staff from the IGAD and the East African Community.

At the end, participants of the regional program summarized a report covering the discussions to be held in Nairobi in October 2023, including recommendations on policy reforms to address barriers and challenges for economic empowerment of refugees, returnees, and host communities.

As of August 2023, the East, Horn of Africa and the Great Lakes region hosted 5.37 million refugees and asylum seekers and 12.3 million internally displaced people, comprising 89% of forcibly displaced persons on the continent.

This regional program covers 11 countries in East, Horn of Africa, and the Great Lakes region and is implemented by UNHCR in collaboration with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the East African Community.

This regional public private dialogue was funded by the African Development Bank.

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