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Digital Employment and Entrepreneurship Access for Young Iraqi and Syrian refugees

Unemployment in Iraq is widespread—particularly among the displaced, women, returnees, and in the informal sector. To mitigate this, DRC will cultivate digital opportunities to fill in the gap in employment and business development services by working with youth with backgrounds in IT.

Posted on 24 Aug 2023

Mitigating unemployment in Iraq

Decades of conflict in Iraq and neighboring countries have created a fragile social and political context. An over-reliance on oil has resulted in a rentier economy, and created high levels of unemployment —particularly displaced, women, returnees, and in the informal sector.

Limited growth in the private sector is a key barrier to large-scale job creation, exacerbated by a lack of business development support services and employment services.

There is a lack of digital employment and entrepreneurship services in Iraq, and conflict- and displacement affected populations depend on humanitarian and development aid for the provision of these services—which are primarily accessible through face-to-face methodologies. 

In 2021, DRC commissioned research exploring the largely untapped potential of digital economy in the region to contribute to increasing the access of displacement-affected populations to job opportunities and/or business development.

The project will support DRC Iraq’s economic recovery portfolio to transition from pure emergency, contributing to enhanced inclusion for displacement-affected communities in Iraq. It directly supports SPI3 (Better Market Access for All) and harnesses digital technology to support SPI1 (Improving protection of the hard to reach).


Supporting young entrepreneurs 

The project will contribute to the expansion of employment and entrepreneurship services to displacement-affected youth, while enhancing employment promotion and successful enterprise development.

The initiative will contribute toward broader economic recovery and development work by providing services to youth using digital technologies, focusing on career counselling, entrepreneurship advisory services, access to information and investment opportunities.

These youth-led digital enterprises will adopt a private sector-led, service driven model to further expand their services to other unemployed youth. DRC will partner with the local Chamber of Commerce to link youth-led digital enterprises for digitizing the services.

Other partnerships would include IT firms with whom these youth will engage to promote the provision of services. DRC will also explore new partnership opportunities by linking these youth with external investors, both locally and globally.

Any questions?


Abdulla Hassan

Economic Recovery Coordinator

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Programme innovation and climate action work in DRC accelerate new ways of working, better impact and more sustainable paths for the people we work for, and aim to make a strategic contribution to the humanitarian eco-system that DRC is part of. Working with wicked problems, new trends, new approaches and partners - DRC programme innovation and business engagement unit support field-led explorations for new areas of work, piloting, transition and scale of new solutions using technological advances, new insights and new partnerships.

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