This Blog is written by Aalaa Halaka
Just like there are two sides to a coin, many believe that refugees can have beneficial potential to the host economy as much as they can be a burden. Laura Buffoni -senior livelihood officer in UNHCR Jordan- represented the UNHCR during the ERF conference on The Impacts of the Syrian Refugees Influx on the Jordanian Economy in the session on the Situation Analysis of Syrian Refugee Influx after which she sat with us for a short video interview. The session is based on Dr. Caroline Krafft and Dr. Maia Sieverding’s Policy Brief on The Wellbeing of Syrian Refugees: Shifting from Humanitarian to Developmental Response in Jordan.
In her opinion, one key takeaway of the session is that refugees have potential -and it is important to underline this aspect, because too often we tend to look only at the negative impact of refugees. It is no secret that refugees place a great burden on the host country’s economy in terms of strain on the resources and opportunities across the different sectors. However, Ms. Buffoni argues that refugees have considerable potential to benefit the host economy as they often come with assets, skills, and willingness to contribute to the economy and society; which needs to be capitalized on by the host country government.
Unfortunately, due to the lack of adequate quantitative evidence to corroborate the positive attributes of refugees based on their profiles and backgrounds, we are therefore more susceptible to hear of the negative impacts of refugees that are observed in the economy at large. She concludes by looking forward to the afternoon sessions, where the focus of the discussion will be on the Jordan labor market and the employment implications of the Syrian refugees influx.
The Policy Conference on Employment, Education and Housing in Jordan: The Impacts Of The Syrian Refugee Influx is held in Amman, Jordan, on 13 May 2018. This event aims to examine the impact of the Syrian refugee influx on various aspects of life for Jordanians, including their labor market outcomes, their access to education services and housing, and their demographic behavior in terms of marriage and fertility. Visit the conference website to find out more about the events and access policy briefs, working papers, videos and blogs.