The impact of refugee presence on host populations

It is widely understood that host populations are affected by a sudden and large influx of refugees. Precisely how they are affected, however, remains under-researched and often ill-communicated.

Tanzania is a country with a large refugee population, partly because of its location (surrounded by countries periodically affected by conflict) and its decades-long history in welcoming and assisting large numbers of refugees.

Tanzania’s experience of accommodating refugees dates back to the colonial era. Since its independence in 1962, Tanzania is considered one of the most hospitable countries in the world.

Unlike several other hosting countries, there exists a considerable body of qualitative, mixed-methods and empirical literature on the Tanzania situation, mostly analyzing the impact of refugee inflows from Burundi (1993) and Rwanda (1994) on host districts, and how this impacts the labor market, environment, health and other areas.

Given the depth and breadth of evidence that can be drawn from the Tanzanian experience, it serves an insightful case study from which policy lessons can be learned from and applied by various governments across the world faced with significant refugee and Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) populations, as well as the humanitarian and development actors involved in supporting them.

See World Bank report on Tanzania’s refugee policy and practice

[UN High Commissioner for Refugees]

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