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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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Emergency refugee camps

Emergency refugee camps

(p.139) 7 Emergency refugee camps
Refugee Economies

Alexander Betts

Louise Bloom

Josiah Kaplan

Josiah Naohiko

Oxford University Press

The chapter explores the economic lives of refugees in an emergency context by examining the Rwamwanja settlement, created in 2012 to address the mass influx of Congolese refugees fleeing violence in North Kivu. This situation, which emerged at the start of this research, offered an interesting methodological opportunity to examine the economy of a ‘new’ camp and its trajectory over time. Rwamwanja contrasts notably with the other settlements. It has the lowest average incomes and highest levels of dependency. Yet, gradually, economic activity has emerged, initially through a handful of innovative entrepreneurs using international assistance or capital brought with them to establish businesses. This in turn has driven the growth of the surrounding local economy. The chapter describes the life of refugees in this emergency camp and its underlying governance structures, before examining the camp economy’s evolution and the variation in economic outcomes that has occurred even under restrictive conditions.

Keywords:   emergency, refugee camps, Rwamwanja, Congolese refugees, M23, Democratic Republic of Congo

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