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Burundian Builds an Empire from a Refugee Camp

Innocent Havyarimana started his soap-making business in Kenya’s Kakuma refugee camp after being forced to flee his native Burundi. In a conversation with the World Economic Forum, he talks about his vision for the informal business, and the challenges that come with holding a refugee status. His vision for the business, which now employs over 40 refugee and host community members, while serving relief agencies and local businesses outside the camp. “In the next five years, I hope to employ more than 100 people and expand to other countries, including Uganda, South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania and South Sudan.” In May, Innocent participated in the 2023 Growth Summit to join the World Economic Forum’s Refugee Employment Alliance in its global, multi-stakeholder effort to expand employment and employability opportunities for refugees.