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FEATURE STORY December 4, 2017

Additional Financing Available to Support Refugees and Host Communities

© UNHCR/David Azia

Photo: UNHCR/David Azia


  • Uganda is eligible for substantial additional financial support through an innovative financing sub-window to help it cope with its refugee influx.
  • Support will focus on delivering longer term solutions for refugees and host communities to complement existing initiatives, including a $50 million project aimed at improving conditions in hosting areas.
  • Seven other countries—Cameroon, Chad, the Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Niger, Pakistan—have been found eligible for assistance so far.

KAMPALA, December 4, 2017-In 2016, there were around 500,000 refugees living in Uganda. By the end of 2017, there were close to 1.4 million, mostly from South Sudan, making Uganda the third largest refugee host country in the world.

Uganda is known for having a relatively generous and welcoming refugee policy. Most refugees are allowed to work and move freely within the country, and have access to free public health and education services. Many are given plots of land on which to cultivate crops and build themselves houses.

But the continued influx of refugees from neighboring countries is putting an increasing strain on Ugandan host communities, particularly in the north of the country close to the border with South Sudan, and leaving local government authorities and agencies struggling to cope to provide basic, essential services.

The World Bank is now increasing its support to assist the Ugandan government’s response to these challenges. Following a discussion with the Bank’s Board of Executive Directors, Uganda is eligible for receiving substantial additional financial support through a new and innovative financing sub-window under the 18th replenishment of the  International Development Association (IDA18), the Bank’s fund for the poorest countries. This financing sub-window has $2 billion available to help countries manage refugee influxes, targeting both refugees and host communities with longer-term solutions.

Uganda meets all the criteria to access financing through the sub-window, with its huge, total population of refugees and refugee policies that are considered to be among the most progressive and generous in the world. The country has integrated refugee management and protection into its national development agenda through its second National Development Plan (2016–20) and Settlement Transformation Agenda (STA). The STA aims to support development in refugee hosting districts of Uganda, through transformative investments in infrastructure, livelihoods, peaceful coexistence, and environmental protection initiatives.


Photo: UNHCR/Peter Caton

Bridging the Gap

Uganda is a pilot country for the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF), an initiative called for in the UN resolution known as the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants. The CRRF is expected to create a more coherent and robust response to refugee crises. through complementarity of programming and resourcing.

A key component of the CRRF is the Refugee and Host Population Empowerment (ReHoPE) strategic framework, supported by the World Bank, the UN Country Team and other humanitarian and development actors in Uganda. ReHoPE aims to bring partners together in a harmonized and cohesive manner under the government’s leadership to overcome fragmented programming and bridge the gap between humanitarian and development support.

The Bank is currently contributing financially to ReHoPE through the Development Response to Displacement Impacts Project, which includes a $50 million credit for Uganda aimed at improving access to basic social services, expanding economic opportunities, and enhancing environmental management for communities hosting refugees.

The additional IDA18 financing will allow the Bank significantly scale up its support to realize the government’s commitment to maintain a progressive approach to refugee management, as laid out during the Uganda Solidarity Summit on Refugees in June 2017.

The Bank will support the government through policy dialogue, investment financing and knowledge, focusing on (i) boosting resilience to refugee shocks, in part by supporting the integration of the refugee response in sectoral strategies and district development plans; (ii) enhancing self-reliance and long-term socio-economic development in areas that host refugees; and (iii) strengthening effective coordination of humanitarian aid and development assistance.

The current global refugee crisis is the biggest and most complex faced by this generation. It will take strong partnerships with humanitarian and other agencies—development, peacebuilding, civil society, and from the private sector– to drive sustainable solutions for both refugees and hosts.

In addition to Uganda, seven other countries—Cameroon, Chad, Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Niger, Pakistan—have been found eligible for assistance so far. Collectively, these countries host 4.1 million refugees, or 60% of the total number of refugees living in IDA countries.

With new financing under IDA18, the Bank will work with partners to support those most in need to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and the Bank’s twin goals to end extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity.