An Excellent Return On Investment? What Governments and Businesses Need to Know About Investing In Refugees
On Thursday, July 14, 2016, the Berlin office of The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) hosted the roundtable “An excellent return on investment? What governments and businesses need to know about investing in refugees”. Philippe Legrain, political economist, discussed his latest study on the economic potential of refugees with representatives of the government, the economic sector, civil society, and the media. The report was issued by the TENT Foundation and constitutes the first comprehensive international study on how refugees contribute to advanced economies. Astrid Ziebarth, GMF’s migration fellow, moderated the event.
Presenting the findings of his study, Legrain argued that investing in refugee welcome programs yields significant economic dividends. Refugees should be seen as a great economic opportunity for society rather than a burden. He moreover pointed out the great influence that receiving countries’ policies have in determining whether investing in refugees will prove beneficial over time. A combination of Swedish charity policies and the US approach to have refugees quickly provide for their own living was depicted as a role model.
The following lively debate focused on the right training society and businesses can provide to qualify refugees and the obstacles they encounter. Critical voices addressed the current singular German situation and also addressed the social costs within receiving societies that go along with security issues and border control and may diminish the expected return on investment. All participants agreed that integrating refugees is one of the greatest current and future challenges and that a joint effort involving all societal entities is needed.
We would like to thank the TENT Foundation for their kind cooperation.