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Refugee EconomiesForced Displacement and Development$
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Alexander Betts, Louise Bloom, Josiah Kaplan, and Naohiko Omata

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198795681

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198795681.001.0001

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Protracted refugee camps

Protracted refugee camps

(p.109) 6 Protracted refugee camps
Refugee Economies

Alexander Betts

Louise Bloom

Josiah Kaplan

Josiah Naohiko

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines refugee economies in the context of two long-standing refugee settlements in south-west Uganda: Nakivale and Kyangwali. It begins by describing the structure of the settlements, their history, and the lives of their inhabitants, and then explains their governance structure. These refugees face a distinctive institutional and regulatory environment compared to host nationals, which creates both opportunities and constraints. While the majority are farmers and rarely leave the settlements, there is also often neglected diversity in terms of refugees’ economic lives. A small but significant number engage in innovation and entrepreneurship, creating opportunities for themselves and others, and even contributing public goods. For the Somali community, which shuns all agricultural work, entrepreneurship is a way of life. Crucially, far from being isolated, the settlements are connected to nearby cities (Mbarara and Hoima) as well as Kampala, through refugee and Ugandan brokers. The chapter investigates variation in these outcomes.

Keywords:   refugee camps, protracted refugee situations, Nakivale, Kyangwali, Hoima, Mbarara

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