Refugees and their money – understanding the enablers of the camp economy in Rwanda

Authored by: BFA GLOBAL
September 15, 2018 - 1 min read

In Rwanda, financial inclusion allows low-income households to build assets, mitigate shocks and make productive investments. It also stimulates local economic activity by financing microbusinesses and is positively correlated with economic growth. Increased use of digital cash transfer technology, that delivers cash to recipients using card-based and mobile phone-based systems, provides potential opportunities for linking relief, rehabilitation and development activities. Humanitarian cash transfers offer beneficiaries a chance to ‘onramp’ to other important services, such as transactional accounts and bank accounts that lead to savings and credit lines.


This study details the financial needs of the ‘forcibly displaced people’ (FDP) population in relation to their host populations. It offers insights into how different segments of the FDP population manage their portfolios and how the different stakeholder categories might engage with financial service providers (FSPs).

Key findings

1. Unclear KYC requirements make it difficult for both the refugees and FSPs to interact effectively.

2. NGO-promoted livelihoods, while appreciated, often generate subsistence-level incomes.

3. Credit is needed for business expansion

4. An information and ‘idea gap’ holds back camp resident

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