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Assessing Economic Opportunities for Refugee and Displaced Youth in Central Sahel

Report Launch Webinar: Assessing Economic Opportunities for Refugee and Displaced Youth in Central Sahel

On June 13, 2023, WUSC collaborated with Expectation State with funding from Mastercard Foundation to organize a virtual event on economic opportunities for refugee and displaced youth. Close to 100 people from different parts of the world participated in the event who were members of civil society organizations, academia, and post-secondary institutions. The aim of the event was to present and discuss the findings and recommendations of our new report commissioned by Mastercard Foundation and undertaken by Expectation State. 

The report provided an assessment of economic opportunities for refugee and displaced youth in Central Sahel. Panelists explored the state and nature of the displacement crisis and discussed insights and learnings from other displacement crises in the context of economic opportunities. The purpose of the assessment was to identify potential economic opportunities for refugee and displaced youth in the region to inform entry points for future initiatives. 

These are some of the takeaways from the event:

1. Central Sahel is one of the fastest growing displacement crises in the world. Forced migration is an ongoing reality for many in the region and displacement is often considered by policymakers as a short-term crisis rather than a long-term opportunity. 

2. In Central Sahel, economic opportunity remains minimal for many within displaced and host communities. Entrepreneurship is one way we can equip refugee and displaced youth with the opportunity to take their economic destiny into their own hands. According to a survey, 76% of African youth surveyed would like to start a business in the next five years. In addition, if given a hypothetical $100, 50% of African youth surveyed said they would use it to start a business. 

3. Future demographic trends indicate the importance of addressing gaps in employment and economic opportunity in the region. For example, Africa will need to produce two million jobs per month by 2040 to keep up with population growth. Furthermore, Sub-Saharan Africa will account for 87% of population growth between 2020 and 2100.

4. Education, employment, and economic opportunity are all inextricably linked. It is critical that we focus on ensuring that the curriculum offered in educational institutions matches the needs of graduates and employers to guarantee better success in finding jobs and economic opportunity. 

5. Our report also identified several entry points to support economic opportunities for displaced individuals including promoting entrepreneurship, expanding online universities, and creating an online platform to access documents like proof of identity. 

Interested in learning more? We invite you to read our full report to learn more about our research and its findings. You can also check out the event recording to hear directly from the researchers who contributed to this report on their insights and learnings.

Presentation slides and Report Executive Summary are linked. 

This report was produced as part of our DREEM project, funded by the Mastercard Foundation. Visit our website to learn more about the DREEM project.

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