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IFC and UNHCR join forces in Brazil to promote private sector solutions for refugees in Latin America


Patricia Carvalho, IFC
Phone: (55 11) 5185-6873
E-mail: pcarvalho@ifc.org

Miguel Pachioni, UNHCR
Phone: (55 11) 3107-5324
E-mail: pachioni@unhcr.org

São Paulo, Brazil, February 12, 2019— IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, will work together to promote private sector initiatives for the refugee population in Brazil as a starting point to propel private-sector efforts that can foster the economic and social integration for forcibly displaced people and create opportunities for all the population in Latin America.

Latin America is currently facing the largest outflow of people in recent history, involving the displacement of more than 3 million Venezuelans who have migrated to countries throughout the region, including Brazil. IFC and UNHCR signed an agreement to join efforts and create innovative solutions to overcome medium to long-term challenges faced by these and other refugees in Brazil. Both institutions will seek alternatives to mobilize private sector investment and expertise to develop new financing options, raise awareness, and increase the impact of public resources.

“Beyond the emergency response, forcibly displaced populations face long-term integration challenges in the host countries,” said Hector Gomez Ang, IFC Brazil Country Head. “Innovative solutions led by the private sector to provide housing, create jobs and facilitate financial inclusion are critical to effectively address these challenges,” he added.

The private-sector led initiatives for Brazil will be the starting point of a larger effort by IFC to engage with the private sector throughout Latin America to promote the economic integration of refugees.  

“We cannot respond to refugee crises by closing doors. The magnitude of this issue leads us to rethink our business model to propose new perspectives to integrate refugees,” said José Egas, UNHCR Representative in Brazil. “In every level of the private sector engagement we must provide opportunities for refugees to show their potential contribution to the hosting communities,” he added.

IFC and UNHCR have partnered before to help promote the economic and social development of refugee populations.  In 2018, with the support of UNHCR, IFC carried out a study to evaluate the potential for private sector investment in the Kakuma Refugee Camp, in Kenya. Also, with the support from UNHCR, IFC is working with IrisGuard, a Jordanian company specializing in iris-scanning technology to boost financial inclusion of Syrian refugees in Jordan.

About IFC
IFC - a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group - is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in the toughest areas of the world. In fiscal year 2018, we delivered more than $23 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org

About UNHCR
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is a global organization dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights and building a better future for refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people. UNHCR leads international action to protect people forced to flee their homes because of conflict, persecution and human rights violations. We deliver life-saving assistance and develop solutions that ensure people have a safe place to call home where they can build a better future. UNHCR also work to ensure that stateless people are granted a nationality. For further information, visit www.unhcr.org

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