Getting residency permits and bank accounts have long been a struggle for refugees. But fellow refugees, who have undergone such struggles themselves, are using financial technology (fintech) to offer easier ways to tackle these hurdles.
As the coronavirus pandemic led to more businesses going cashless and requiring card payments, for example, refugees and migrants have been facing increasing difficulty with money transfers. But Roham Soleimani, an Iranian refugee in Berlin, Germany, is working on a blockchain-based service that would allow people to transfer money from anywhere.
“It’s a big opportunity to help people like us,” explains Soleimani of BankeNu. “To give opportunity to people who suffer sanctions, the un-banked, the migrant communities… and offer the services with low fees.”
Other entrepreneurs have also been working on finding solutions for refugees: Berat Kjamili, a North Macedonian refugee, has set up a fintech firm allowing refugees in Turkey to apply for residency permits online instead of having to queue for potentially days outside a government building. And Honduran Lucia Gallardo has set up a platform, due to launch in 2021, that will provide migrants, political asylum seekers and homeless populations with digital IDs and help them find work according to their skills.