Their Suffering, Our Burden? How Congolese Refugees Affect the Ugandan Population


Year: 2014 HiCN Working Paper No. 181

The situation of refugees all over the world gets increasingly protracted, as civil wars in their home countries are not resolved. Especially in developing countries, the sudden inflow and long-term presence of refugees can represent a significant strain on infrastructure and markets. Uganda has an exemplary legal framework in its Refugee Act aiming at the economic independence from aid of refugees and the inclusion of public services for hosts and the displaced. Three waves of two different household surveys are used, in order to employ a difference-in-differences approach. In doing so, the natural experiment of two sudden inflows is exploited, while simultaneously controlling for long-term trends in refugee numbers. The findings presented here suggest that Uganda can benefit from its decades long experience in hosting refugees as well as its policy framework when it comes to the economic welfare and the public service provision of its nationals. Yet, there are small warning signals regarding social integration. This could motivate policy makers to look further into this issue and possibly increase efforts to reduce prejudices between the groups.

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