Assessing the demand for goods and services among refugees in the DRC

The great Lakes region, comprised of the DRC and five neighbouring countries, has some of the greatest numbers of refugees and internally displaced persons in the world.

Refugees and IDPs in the region currently total some 5 million individuals (4.5 million IDPs and 0.5 million refugees). increased conflict in the DRC, particularly in North Kivu, threatens to increase the numbers further. this is a potential market in need of goods and services, yet is largely overlooked by businesses and service providers.

Because of the many long-running conflicts in the region, settlements that were designed for transient populations are now turning into permanent homes. Refugees and IDPs, like any other segment of the population, require housing, water, lighting and energy, need to buy food, clothing and services, and have children that attend school. their financial needs can be compared to any other rural community.

This briefing note is based on a research study commissioned in 2018 by FSD Africa and Elan DRC, and carried out by Digital Disruptions in three locations, to investigate the demand for goods and services among refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Its aim is to provide a baseline for financial service providers (FSPs) and others who see the opportunity to do business by providing services to this sizeable population of people.