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After six years of Syrian conflict, local governments hosting refugees are facing a number of challenges for securing the welfare of both their host and refugee communities. They are feeling the need to alleviate the existing pressure on and to reduce unemployment and competition over jobs between locals and Syrians, which can also have serious repercussions on a peaceful coexistence between the two communities.
Following the outcomes of the Host Municipalities Network’s Workshop on Local Economic Development (Beirut, May 9-12th 2017), one mean to respond to these challenges is to stimulate entrepreneurship and private investments for the creation of jobs for refugees and locals alike.
Entrepreneurs can be an important economic opportunity for host countries: they can bring capital, new markets, and know-how creating more jobs, developing a trade network, and contributing to the general local economic attractiveness.
However, more efforts need to be addressed for private sector mobilization, such as: infrastructure development, exploitation of the comparative advantage local governments can offer, encouragement of entrepreneurship, simplification of regulatory framework for home-based business, and introduction of new financial instruments to attract investments.
In this context, the Mediterranean Host Municipalities Learning Network aims to support municipalities hosting refugees with evidence-based knowledge and to share innovative solutions to improve their response capacity in public service delivery for refugees and the most vulnerable since June 2016.
The Network benefitted from several face-to-face workshops and webinars on priority themes, surveys, as well as online discussions. It will now be supported by a new collaborative online platform which offers a privileged space for municipalities hosting refugees to exchange and learn from each other’s experiences and best practices on a continuous basis, and build collaborations. The Host Municipalities Network is moderated by the Center for Mediterranean Integration, as part of the Mediterranean Refugees and Host Communities Program.
Building on learning requests from the Host Municipalities Network’s members, this Webinar addressed main challenges and solutions for supporting the business of both Syrian refugees and host communities at the local level.
Main objectives of the 2.5-hours Webinar were:
The Webinar explored perspectives of how to better mobilize the private sector from the viewpoints of investors, Municipal representatives, and technical advisors’ inputs and was followed by an interactive discussion.
Mediterranean and European local governments hosting high numbers of refugees, investors from both the Syrian and hosting communities, and relevant private sector stakeholders.
The webinar consisted of a virtual exchange allowing participants to interact by connecting to the webinar directly from their computer (please note that this will require high-speed internet connection). Arabic-English translation was provided for participants.
Rami Sharrack -Economist Specialist in Syrian private sector: The Expectations from Syrian Investors and the Benefits for Host Municipalities
John Speakman: Investement in Mobilization in Host countries
محمد السرحان، بلدية سرحان الأردن: التنمية الاقتصادية في بلدية السرحان