WHEN THE POOR WELCOME THE PERSECUTED
Recognizing the Economic Potential of Refugee Reception in Low-income Host Countries
While a ‘burden narrative’ dominates the popular and political discourse regarding the economic impact of refugees, scholars increasingly recognize their economic potential. One such scholar is economist Philippe Legrain who argues that welcoming refugees constitutes “a humanitarian investment that yields economic dividends” (Legrain, 2016, p.1). This paper investigates the validity of such claim in the context of low-income host countries via a comparative analysis of Tanzania and Uganda. The hypotheses derived of Legrain’s work confirm that low-income countries benefit economically as refugees improve market conditions by spurring demand, trade, and entrepreneurialism. Certain policies can strengthen such potential if prioritizing the right to work, freedom of movement and assistance programs encouraging entrepreneurialism. Doing so allows refugees and hosts to mutually benefit rather than to compete for economic opportunities.