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Digital refugee livelihoods and decent work: Towards inclusion in a fairer digital economy

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Executive summary

Digitalisation is rapidly changing the character of work around the world. Technological advances will create new jobs and opportunities while making others obsolete. The implications of this digital transformation in the world of work for refugees are far-reaching but still remain poorly understood. Despite a lack of evidence-based guidance, there are now numerous experimental innovations that utilise digital technology in livelihoods programmes, employment, and skills training among refugees, migrants, and host community members. To harness the inclusive potential of the digital transformation in the future of work for refugees, it is crucial to understand the possibilities and limitations of digital livelihoods. Refugees are an important test case for the feasibility of digital livelihoods at some of the world’s economic and political margins, offering new insights about global digital divides and how to overcome them.

This report offers the first comparative global assessment of the emerging field of digital livelihoods and digital work among refugees. The insights are based on eight unique case studies that are authored by leading experts in their respective fields and study locations. While each of the sections offers its own conclusions and context-specific insights, together they provide a new basis for assessing the prospects for decent work within digital refugee livelihoods on a global scale.