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New refugee aid model boosts local incomes in Uganda: UN report

KAMPALA Uganda (Xinhua) -- A shift by the UN’s food aid agency to provide cash to refugees to purchase food locally is empowering communities in rural Uganda where refugee settlements are located, a new report has showed.

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) study carried out by researchers from University of California, Davis showed that each cash-receiving refugee household adds up to 1,100 U.S. dollars to the local economy annually. In-kind food receiving household adds 850 dollars.

The report dubbed “Economic Impact of Refugees Settlement in Uganda” also showed that the land that government gives one refugee household generates up to 220 dollars annually for the local economy.

“Now we can say with confidence that when the government provides land to refugees, and WFP provides cash, incomes multiply and spread economic benefits to both the refugees and the Ugandan communities that have welcomed them,” said Cheryl Harrison, WFP Deputy Country Director.

She said the impact will be higher next year as the number of cash beneficiaries will be increased from the current 65,000 to 200,000 people.

Edward Taylor, the lead researcher, said the cash transfer and local purchase from the host communities has multiplier effects like stimulating agricultural growth.

Uganda is globally acclaimed as having one of the best refugee policies that can be a model to the rest of the world regarding the management of displaced people.

The country hosts about 800,000 refugees from neighboring countries, making it the eighth-largest refugee hosting country in the world.

When refugees arrive in the country, they are transferred to a refugee settlement from where he or she will be given a piece of land to cultivate on.



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