IFC study underlines iris solutions benefits
15 May 2019 17:00 GMT

A new study by IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, highlights the activities of several companies, including Irisguard, a start-up that allows refugees in Jordan to pay for food with a simple eye scan.

The study found that firms can scale up their impact on refugees and host communities through innovative financial tools and products (like venture capital approaches), cross-sector partnerships, and better access to market information.

Irisguard's iris-recognition technology helps refugees register for assistance more quickly and eradicates duplicate registrations. “This is about creating solutions that work for real problems, serving forcibly displaced refugees in a time of crisis,” said Founder Imad Malhas.

More than 68 million people have been forcibly displaced worldwide according to UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. The figure includes 25 million refugees and 40 million internally displaced persons. Some 85 percent of the world’s refugees are currently in low and middle-income countries, with the majority hosted in 10 countries across Africa and the Middle East.

Pathways to Scale follows another vanguard IFC study which looked at the Kakuma Refugee Camp in northwestern Kenya as a marketplace, and identified a growing $56 million consumer market.