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UNHCR Southern Africa: Stepped up livelihoods and economic inclusion strategy 2021-2024 southern

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UNHCR SOUTHERN AFRICA: STEPPED UP LIVELIHOODS AND ECONOMIC INCLUSION STRATEGY 2021-2024 Southern

Summary

This document presents the UNHCR Regional Bureau of Southern Africa’s (RBSA) Livelihoods and Economic Inclusion Strategy 2021-2024 and serves as a guideline for UNHCR country operations. This outlines strategic actions to achieve the livelihoods and economic inclusion objective as set out in the RBSA MYMP Protection and Solutions Strategy 2020-2024 and the RBSA Strategic Directions 2020-2022.

Situation. The 7.5 million refugees and persons of concern (PoCs) in Southern Africa face significant challenges to achieving self-reliance as economic inclusion, and livelihoods opportunities are often limited. Legal frameworks restrict right to work and freedom of movement in 6 of the 16 countries. In 8 countries, access to land is restricted, which severely impedes self-reliance in a region where 70% of the population relies of agricultural livelihoods. Further, PoCs struggle to access economic opportunities due to administrative hurdles or limited economic growth and development in hosting areas. The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated this, as PoCs and especially women who represent the highest proportion working in the informal and in the agricultural sector, were disproportionally impacted by the socio-economic consequences of lockdowns and following recession. As income-generating opportunities and savings dried up during 2020, PoCs struggle to meet their basic needs as they battle poverty and stigma; unemployment or loss of business and income generating assets.