Ethiopia—Strengthening Host and Refugee Populations (SHARPE)

Client: Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office

Duration: 2019-2025

Region: Sub-Saharan Africa

Country: Ethiopia

Solutions: Fragile States Economic Growth

Through the innovative use of an adapted market systems development approach “Markets for Resilience”, the Strengthening Host and Refugees Populations in Ethiopia program (SHARPE) works to strengthen the economies of target populations in three regions in Ethiopia; Dollo Ado, Gambella, and Jijiga.

SHARPE promotes increased refugee self-reliance and generates economic opportunities for host communities through the piloting and scaling of interventions. This approach is based on understanding the economic barriers that refugee and host communities face and working with key stakeholders—including businesses, government, and service providers—to make markets work for target communities.

The program also serves as a learning platform for the wider international and Ethiopian development community to share lessons in the application of systemic approaches in humanitarian settings. SHARPE expects to benefit up to 200,000 people in the target populations, helping them realize increases in incomes and employment or expand access to assets through private sector-driven changes.

Sample Activities

Financial services and business development services:

  • Work with banks, microfinance institutions, and digital financial service providers to develop an interface with and services for medium, small, and micro enterprises (MSMEs) and rural clients.
  • Facilitate the expansion of digital financial services to refugees and host communities in Jijiga and Dollo Ado.
  • Support access to tailored and affordable financial services (credit and saving) for MSMEs, resulting in soft loans and business support services to 75 to 100 enterprises.

Regional market development for cereals and horticulture, livestock, and poultry:

  • Work with agro-input dealers and lead companies to expand regional distribution networks and the range and quality of inputs.
  • Facilitate networks of agro-vet dealers in Somali and Gambella to expand access to quality livestock and agricultural inputs.
  • Support the expansion of micro and small businesses operating in the poultry and egg supply chain.

Aid Reform:

  • Support the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework implementation and the push to cash-based aid delivery.
  • Facilitate investment and innovation in commercial clean energy solutions.
  • Align humanitarian and market-based interventions so that investments support the growth of local businesses and local markets.
  • Facilitate local procurement of goods from refugees and host communities.
  • Work with refugee agencies to support refugee business registration.
  • Develop access to clean solar energy in refugee camps in the Somali region.

Select Results

  • Enabled more than 100,000 refugees and host community individuals to increase their enterprise or household performance.
  • Leveraged nearly £1.2 million from market actors for investment in refugee-hosting areas.
  • Supported more than 8,700 local host community businesses to become more innovative and grow their business.
  • Benefitted 89,600 people through increased income, employment, savings, or liquid assets.
  • Achieved £30 million in additional sales through SHARPE-supported business models.


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