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Syrian Refugees Contribute over $800 Million to Egypt’s Economy Since 2011: UNDP Report

5 June, 2017
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The total capital invested by Syrians refugees and their Egyptian partners throughout their working period since 2011 has been estimated at nearly $800 million, according to a report released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Syrian refugees are thought to have contributed to Egypt’s economy with even more than the estimated amount. However, Syrian businesses do not usually register under an Egyptian name, that is if they register at all.

Syrian businesses vary in type and size, from large factories to micro-sized enterprises in diverse sectors, including textiles, restaurants, local markets and IT firms.

The report added that these businesses are also reportedly hiring Egyptians and training them. They also bring in expertise and boost exports.

Egypt has proven to be an attractive location for Syrian refugees, despite the difficulties of starting a business in the country.

Syrians are also finding a way to integrate into the labor market. Interviews conducted by the UNDP indicate that Syrians work in restaurants, the textile industry and food production. Egypt’s economy is large enough to absorb them, especially given that both societies share the same language.

In order to ease the process of recognizing Syrian academic qualifications, there are ongoing efforts to transfer Syrian educational certificates to be recognized under Egypt’s current law. Egypt has also agreed to allow for the development of Syrian community schools that will employ about 2,000 Syrian teachers.

Conversely, the report said that Egypt has a weak private sector, which results in hard conditions for businesses to start. These challenges are doubled for Syrians due to insufficient access to banking services and the inability to bring the needed skilled Syrian staff to Egypt. Also, the process of obtaining residency permits restricts Syrian refugees from participating in the formal labour market.

Egypt currently has 120,000 registered Syrian refugees. However, the Egyptian government believes that the actual number reaches as high as 500,000.

Tags Syrians Egypt economic empowerment UNDP refugee employment