In a Kenyan refugee camp, business ideas but little access to credit

Picture: Anthony Langat - TNH

Kenya hosts 475,412 refugees and asylum seekers – the vast majority camp-based and aid dependent. Greater flexibility over accepting refugee identification would represent a new untapped market for financial service providers.

In Rwanda, a study by Financial Sector Deepening (FSD) Africa, a UK-funded non-profit, found that refugees represented the same level of profitability for financial service providers as a typical low-income Rwandan account holder.

While recommending that the National Bank of Rwanda adds refugee registration documents as valid “Know Your Customer” paperwork, it noted that some financial service providers have already proactively sought and obtained approval from the NBR.

The World Bank has also recommended reforms that should enable alternative means of registration for refugees so they can access digital credit and mobile money services.

And as aid agencies move from food assistance to cash-based transfers for refugees, the demand for financial services is now even more apparent. Simply put: “Refugees have a strong need for comprehensive financial services to support their livelihoods,” the FSD report concluded.

Read full article: The New Humanitarian