Tackling the root causes of displacement – strengthening host regions

Project description

Title: Economic Inclusion of Refugees and Host Communities in Rwanda
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Lead executing agency: Ministry in Charge of Emergency Management (MINEMA)
Country: Republic of Rwanda
Overall term: 2018 to 2023


The Republic of Rwanda has been a host country for refugees for several decades. Ongoing political instability and numerous conflicts in Central Africa and the Great Lakes Region are the reasons for this. The refugees come primarily from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and, since 2015, also from the Republic of Burundi.

Because of the volatile political situation in their countries of origin, it is not expected that these refugees will be able to return to their homelands in the foreseeable future. This has created the challenge of integrating these people into Rwandan society both economically and socially.

They currently lack important services such as vocational training, support for start-up companies, business training and advice, support for employability and income generation, and help with integration into the labour market. There is a need for investment in these areas. The level of economic integration of refugees and inhabitants of selected neighbouring communities is currently inadequate.


The economic inclusion of refugees and inhabitants of selected neighbouring communities in Rwanda has been improved.


The project aims to improve the conditions for refugees. The Ministry in Charge of Emergency Management (MINEMA) is being strengthened in terms of specialist knowledge and human resources. This project is also creating awareness at other ministries and institutions for measures to address the economic inclusion of refugees. In individual districts, the project helps local administrations to identify and implement measures to promote economic development in and close to refugee camps. Public-private dialogues with refugees and inhabitants of neighbouring communities are planned, for example.

In addition, support is to be provided for business start-ups and expansions in refugee camps and surrounding regions. To achieve this aim, the project supports people starting up their own businesses and also the owners of micro and small enterprises based on analyses of economic potential. Basic and further training programmes and advisory services on the issues of production, trade and services are planned. Facilitating access to financial services is also on the agenda. In the area of business start-ups and expansions, the project provides assistance in the form of coaching and mentoring. The project plans support for and implementation of a diverse range of development partnerships with national or international investors or with existing companies. The goals of these partnerships are the economic strengthening of the regions around refugee camps and the creation of new jobs for the target group. 

Additionally, the project aims to improve vocational training for young refugees and for young people in the neighbouring communities and to implement corresponding measures. For example, there are short training courses of between four and twelve months that adhere to the standards of the Rwandan vocational training authority. This approach includes career advice and educational measures to ease the transition into employment.

In parallel, accompanying measures in the areas of psychosocial support, conflict transformation and the promotion of dialogue are being implemented. In this way, awareness of the psychosocial effects of experiencing displacement and violence is being created among project partners such as advisors, entrepreneurs and vocational school teachers. This will help to ensure that the target group is dealt with in a manner that is sensitive to traumas and conflicts and also will ensure services that are better adapted for target groups on the whole. In addition, support is in place for constructively handling any conflicts or stressful situations that may potentially arise during vocational training or the process of starting or expanding a business. The accompanying measures provide support to the target group in coping with any difficulties they may face due to their experience as refugees and also assist the target group in their current life situations in and around refugee camps.

Last update: March 2021