International Research: Refugee Economies Rethinking Popular Assumptions
Tuesday, January 5, 2016

What comes to mind when you think of a refugee camp? Maybe heat — and flies. Rows of tents as far as you can see. People who are hungry and desolate, waiting for their lives to begin again.

Bustling markets buzzing with trade is probably not what you imagine. But that’s exactly what researchers from Oxford found when they spent months surveying refugee camps in Uganda.

Nakivale, one of the three camps, is the oldest and largest refugee settlement camp in Uganda. Over 64,000 people from more than 10 countries fill the 70-square-mile camp. More arrive every day. Most are Congolese, people who’ve been trudging for weeks through the unforgiving forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Oxford report provides an important counter-argument to many of the myths around refugees, highlighting just one example of the resilience and ingenuity of their communities in the face of immense hardship.

There’s a buzzing economy within refugee settlement camps

Based in rural southern Uganda, Nakivale is actually split into three distinct sections — Juru, Rubondo, and Base Camp. In each, markets have sprung up selling food, clothes, jewelry, and more. On the main street of Base Camp, the researchers found stalls stocked with electronics, beauty supplies, and vegetables — from tomatoes to cabbages to beans.

These markets in Base Camp are largely run by Somali refugees, who also run the camp’s restaurants and bars. Meanwhile, Congolese, Rwandan, and Burundian refugees tend to grow crops within the camps.

When Somali stallholders buy this produce, a market emerges. The farming refugees take their earnings and spend them at the Somali markets, buying products that are hard to find elsewhere in the camps.

Read full report here

Source:Vox World