Refugee protest in Munich Joerg Koch/Stringer

Lessons from Germany for Integrating Refugees

When Germany received about 1.1 million refugees in 2015, it did not buckle. On the contrary, it has handled the pressure exceedingly well, proving that the refugee crisis really is a valuable opportunity for host countries' economies.

DAVOS – Governments around the world are facing a huge challenge. The number of international migrants has surged in recent years, reaching 244 million in 2015 – a 41% increase from 2000. With that total including 20 million refugees, preventing a humanitarian nightmare demands swift and responsible integration into host societies. The logistical challenge of doing so is placing mounting pressure on the countries facing the largest influxes.

Germany, which received about 1.1 million people in 2015, knows this pressure all too well. Yet Germany has not buckled. On the contrary, it has handled the pressure exceedingly well, proving that through sustained collaboration among governments, business, and civil society, countries can develop effective approaches to meeting the needs of refugees and the countries that receive them.

To succeed, each country must ensure that it has the capabilities, resources, and structures in place to manage refugees’ needs efficiently. Sound management and coordination among transit and destination countries can enable governments, businesses, NGOs, and aid agencies to address more effectively the challenges that will inevitably arise along the way. At the same time, to ensure that actors in transit and host countries actually provide what the refugees need, the challenges that arise must be viewed from the refugees’ perspective.

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