Financial inclusion for refugees - a bridge to their self-sufficiency
25 October 2022
25 October 2022
More than 30 participants from banks, the Association of Banks of Serbia, the Serbian Commissariat for Refugees and Migration, UNHCR and its partners, as well as refugees and asylum seekers, participated in the workshop “Financial inclusion of refugees in Serbia” organised by UNHCR Serbia and UNHCR Regional Bureau Europe on October 25th. As accessing banking products and services remains a challenge for asylum seekers and refugees in Serbia, the purpose of the workshop was to present the problems from a refugee perspective, explain legal aspects and find solutions. The workshop was also a chance to learn about the best practices in Europe and across the world in this field. Banks provided valuable inputs and insights on how to enhance access to services, and participants agreed on concrete conclusions and ways forward in enabling greater financial inclusion.
Accessing and using financial products, such as bank accounts, credit cards et al, is essentially important for all of us, throughout our everyday lives. For some, having a safe space for receiving and saving money, and using services that can support the fulfillment of needs, desires and ideas are taken as a given.
Forced displacement is one of the key burning issues of our time. There have never been as many people who had to leave their homes as today. And whatever the statistics may be, and they are striking, behind each number there is a real person.
With support for accessing financial products and services, those who were forced to flee can build stability for themselves and their families, which is a pre-condition for them to contribute to the host society they are now a part of, in the best possible manner.
They can be better empowered to choose how to meet their needs and avoid aid dependency and negative coping mechanisms.
And their contribution can be immense – knowledge, personalities, skills, talents, and different, valuable perspectives are among the few things that they took with them when they had to leave their countries.
For some of them, financial inclusion can be a bridge from humanitarian assistance to sustainable business development.