Displaced people living in Kampala, Nairobi, face mounting crisis as cost-of-living surges

share this

A panel discussion on the crisis refugees face with rising cost of living in the region

A new policy brief has sounded the alarm about the ways in which the surging cost of living is hitting hard refugees in Kampala and Nairobi.

Launched on Wednesday by the International Rescue Committee(IRC),  the research brief points out  ways in which already-vulnerable refugees are being pushed over the brink by the surge in the cost of essentials and calls for both an immediate response and structural reforms.

‘‘Humanitarian agencies must increase funding specifically intended to reach displaced communities living in urban areas with urgent cash assistance,’’ reads part of the recommendations of the brief which  further adds that ‘‘development donors should coordinate with national and municipal governments to facilitate precise and impactful  delivery of inclusive social protection services within cities.’’

The policy brief was launched during a three-day Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) forum  on the Kampala Declaration which took place in Nairobi from October 24-26. In 2009, seven countries meeting in Kampala signed the Kampala Declaration in which among others they committed to advancing livelihoods opportunities, economic inclusion to improve self-reliance for refugees and host communities.

The research was informed by interviews with refugees in  Kampala and Nairobi supported with data from the  Refugees in East Africa: Boosting Urban Innovations for Livelihoods Development (Re:Build), a five-year program implemented by the IRC and partners focused on supporting the livelihoods of 20,000 urban refugees and vulnerable nationals in  the two East African cities.

“As policymakers and other key stakeholders respond to the surging cost of living around the world, it is crucial that they ensure displaced communities are not left behind,” said Priscilla Dembetembe,  the Re:Build Program Director.

Speaking on the first day of the  IGAD forum, Dr Fatuma Adan, the IGAD Head of Mission to the Republic of Kenya  said inclusion of refugees’ is a top priority  for IGAD countries and welcomed the participation of the private sector in the forum. The forum had participants from seven countries and featured high-profile speakers, government officials, the private sector, refugees, the business community, NGOs, and the UN.   Uganda had representatives from the Office of the Prime Minister,  the Uganda Communications Commission, banks, and the business community.