• Human Development

MIDIMAR and UNHCR Affirm Plan to Include Refugees in Rwanda’s National Development

September 2016 – The Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs (MIDIMAR) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) held a conference on refugee solutions and socio-economic inclusion in Rwanda’s development planning. The conference was held in conjunction with local and international organisations and other UN agencies. During the meeting, agencies affirmed that refugees can contribute positively to Rwanda’s economy, and plans were made to boost self-reliance through the launch of the MIDIMAR-UNHCR Joint Strategy for Economic Inclusion of Refugees.

“Refugees have the potential to make a significant contribution to Rwanda’s development if we empower them with the right tools. This is why we have launched the joint livelihoods strategy for socio-economic inclusion with UNHCR today,” said Minister Seraphine Mukantabana.

Rwanda has already demonstrated an innovative approach to refugee policy by taking steps to progressively integrate refugees into the national systems for education and health. Rwanda is also one of only nine African states invited to the Leaders’ Summit on Refugees convened by U.S. President Barack Obama last September, and made significant commitments to refugee protection and solutions.

Saber Azam, UNHCR Representative in Rwanda, stated that “Our aim today … is to propose concrete solutions that will make refugees a meaningful part of Rwanda’s path to achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs). My plea to those amongst you from the development community is to include refugees and their host communities in your development planning. To those of you in the private sector, my plea to you is to think of refugees as potential employees, consumers, and partners.”

The conference’s panel discussion concluded that while humanitarian assistance is required at the outset of a refugee emergency, a forward-looking approach is particularly important given that no refugee situation is short-lived; on average, most refugees remain refugees for 17 years.

By launching the joint strategy on livelihoods, MIDIMAR and UNHCR hope that refugees in Rwanda will graduate out of assistance, will be included in development planning and empowered to become self-reliant in order to contribute to the growth of the country.

Saber Azam, Representaive of UNHCR Rwanda, stated that “Our aim today … is to propose concrete solutions that will make refugees a meaningful part of Rwanda’s path to achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs). My plea to those amongst you from the development community is to include refugees and their host communities in your development planning. To those of you in the private sector, my plea to you is to think of refugees as potential employees, consumers, and partners.”

The conference’s panel discussion concluded that while humanitarian assistance is required at the outset of a refugee emergency, a forward-looking approach is particularly important given that no refugee situation is short-lived; on average, most refugees remain refugees for 17 years.

By launching the joint strategy on livelihoods, MIDIMAR and UNHCR hope that refugees in Rwanda will graduate out of assistance, will be included in development planning and empowered to become self-reliant in order to contribute to the growth of the country.