Syrian refugees contribute $800M economy to Egypt’s



Thu, 18 May 2017 - 09:31 GMT


Thu, 18 May 2017 - 09:31 GMT

Syrian refugees in_Egypt's 6 October City -
 Archive/Hassan Mohamed

Syrian refugees in_Egypt's 6 October City - Archive/Hassan Mohamed

CAIRO – 18 May 2017: The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) recently published a report titled “Jobs make the difference”.

The report notes that Syrian refugees are generally known to be from “more affluent backgrounds,” however, they are ably finding their way to integrate into the labor market. Relevant interviews conducted by UNDP indicate that Syrians successfully work in restaurants, textile industry, and food production. Egypt’s economy is large enough to absorb them, especially that Egyptians and Syrians speak the same language.

More than five million refugees fled Syria and settled in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. In Egypt, figures suggest that 120,000 Syrians are officially registered, even though governmental sources estimate the actual number to be closer to half a million.

The research shows the challenges faced in creating economic opportunities in the Egyptian market, and identifies attempts likely to expand economic opportunities for the internally displaced Syrian refugees, and their host communities by keeping up recent successes and ongoing efforts across these countries.

Seemingly, this helped expand economic opportunities as the Syrian private industry, that already invested nearly $800 millions in Egypt since the beginning of the crisis, offers a unique opportunity to revive and invigorate the Egyptian private sector. In this connection, and in terms of better living conditions, another recommendation put forth by the UNDP for Egypt to extend residency permits for Syrian refugees from six months to two years.

Meanwhile, the report suggested for the government to modify the labor law, regardless of the clause that “a foreigner (Syrian in this case) can only be hired if there is not an eligible Egyptian seeking the same employment.”

The Egyptian law states that “foreigners are allowed to obtain work permits if they have residency but not refugee status” which stands as an obstacle which doubles the challenges for Syrians and brings about more hard conditions for new businesses to start. Conversely, expanding the right to work would bolster employment for Syrian refugees and strengthen the domestic weak private sector in Egypt, according to UNDP report.



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