As we confront the largest global crisis of forced displacement since WWII, refugees and other forced migrants remain excluded from mainstream markets, economies, and societies: Interned in camps, turned away at borders, living in the shadows on urban margins. Most of the world’s top refugee-hosting countries bar refugees from labor markets by law or practice, and many impose other barriers to economic and social participation including internment or threat of deportation.
Paradoxically, refugees are among the most innovative populations in the world. 40% of US Fortune 500 companies were founded by refugees and immigrants or their children. In countries from Ecuador to Uganda, this pattern of entrepreneurship and economic success is repeated. How can markets and societies become inclusive of refugees, to the mutual benefit of refugees and refugee-receiving countries? What role do states play — and which states really matter? How can private philanthropy and business help bring about this change? What is, or should be, the role of civil society in ending the marginalization and impoverishment of refugees? What does this tell us about inclusion of other migrant populations, now or in the future?