Photo Exhibition on Entrepreneurship for Migrants and Refugees

18 - 22 November 2019
Passerelle Footbridge on the 3rd floor of the Palais des Nations
, Switzerland

Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) is a global campaign that takes place across the world annually to raise awareness and promote entrepreneurship initiatives by celebrating innovators and job creators who convert intention to action and thereby drive economic growth and improve welfare.

UNCTAD, in partnership with IOM and UNHCR, will host a photo exhibition that visualizes the contributions of migrant and refugee entrepreneurs to their host and origin countries.

The Rationale: Changing the Narrative

While conspicuous migration flows to both developed and developing countries will most likely continue for the next decades, so far fragmented efforts have been put in place to integrate migrants, in particular, refugees, asylum seekers and ethnic minorities into the local economies through entrepreneurial activities.

Opportunities for potentially high impact and community-focused enterprises and entrepreneurs are therefore lost, missing an opportunity of integration for a constantly increasing number of migrants and a chance for becoming an added value and a resource for both hosting countries and countries of origin.

The benefits of migration to economic development, proven by research in economic development and advocated by international organizations, are seldom visible.


In the light of the economic activity of migrants and refugees in their context, the need to broaden the perspective in which policies address the migration issue is clearer.

Policies need to shift from a mere management of the emergency to the support of inclusive, long-term development strategies, among which entrepreneurial strategies may play a key role.

The Event

The Photo Exhibition will take place on the 3rd floor of the E building at the Palais des Nations in Geneva during the GEW 2019 on 18-24 November 2019.

This exhibition is the result of an open call for entries diffused worldwide through the respective networks of UNCTAD, UNHCR and OIM.

It intends to show that contribution in its diversity. It tries to reflect how migrants and refugees are able to generate income and develop businesses to provide goods and services in their host countries.

The place and conditions in which they do so are diverse. In the spirit of delivering as one UN, this initiative builds on the ongoing tripartite partnership that led to the joint UNCTAD/IOM/UNHCR Policy Guide on Entrepreneurship for Migrants and Refugees, launched during the World Investment Forum in Geneva in October 2018.

With a selection of 30 pictures, the photo exhibition will be also the occasion to exhibit the collective sculpture of artist Romain Langlois, created in collaboration with twenty migrants and refugees in France.




Mr. James Zhan, Director, Division on Investment and Enterprise, UNCTAD

11:30 - 11:40

Ms. Isabelle Durant, Deputy Secretary General, UNCTAD

11:40 - 11:50

Introductory remarks by IOM, UNHCR and UNCTAD
Mr. Mamadou Dian Balde, Deputy Director, Division of Resilience and Solutions, UNHCR
Ms. Renate Held, Director, Department of Migration Management, IOM

11:50 - 12:00

Contribution of Migrant and Refugee Entrepreneurs to Sustainable Development
H.E. Mr. Omar Zniber, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco
H.E. Mr. Christopher Onyanga Aparr, Ambassador of the Republic of Uganda

12:00 - 12:15

Presentation of the art projects “Women like us” and “Akène”
Ms. Thana Faroq, documentary photographer, Yemen
Mr. Romain Langlois, 111-DAYS ASSOCIATION ART FOR REFUGEE, France

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