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Patricia Alonso

Freelance journalist based in Istanbul. Keeping an eye on Turkish politics and development.

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piqer: Patricia Alonso
Thursday, 09 August 2018

Banks Don't Trust Refugees, But Crowdfunding Proves They Are Wrong

Some of the most common misconceptions are that migrants take away jobs and refugees take away social benefits from locals. They are accused of everything, with no foundation.

In fact, with access to finance, refugees could boost local economies. In Turkey, for example, Syrian refugees make significant contributions to the economy either as investors or laborers. In Gaziantep alone, there are 1,476 companies registered by Syrians. 

The key to these success stories? Money. Unfortunately, in many cases banks perceive refugees as too risky. This story proves that they are wrong. 

Lev Plaves raises a very interesting point in this piece for Refugees Deeply: the power of the crowd. More often, even international development agencies reach out to crowdfunding to support local projects. 

Plaves is the Middle East Portfolio Manager at Kiva, the largest crowdfunding platform for social good. Since 2015, Kiva has lent $1.2 billion to entrepreneurs with the help of individuals around the world, with some lending as little as $25. 

In 2016, they launched the World Refugee Fund (WRF) to support refugee entrepreneurship. 

"In addition to individual lenders, the WRF is looking to raise institutional matching funds from the private sector, so that each $25 lent to a refugee on Kiva will be matched 1 to 1, doubling the impact."

The results from their first Refugee Impact Report have proven that "there is a strong business case for financial providers to serve refugees in countries with large refugee populations."

Banks Don't Trust Refugees, But Crowdfunding Proves They Are Wrong
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