Photo by Antonio Lainez on Unsplash

A study conducted by Open For Business (OPB), an alliance of large corporations including Deutsche Bank and tech companies Microsoft and Google, found that LGBT+ discrimination in Kenya is shaving off as much as 1.7 percent of the country’s annual gross domestic product (GDP).

The annual loss, estimated to amount to around $1.3 billion, is attributed to poor health of LGBT+ people, missed tourism earnings and less employment of LGBT+ people. The lack of access to health care services led to a lost of productive working hours which resulted in GDP loss of about $1 billion annually which is equivalent to 1.4 percent of GDP.

The tourism industry losses as much as $140 million every year because LGBT+ tourists chose not to visit Kenya because of homophobic views. The limited number of LGBT+ people in the workforce lead to lower wages and cost the country more than $100 million annually.

According to OPB Kenya program director Yvonne Muthoni, the findings support research done in other countries which concluded that discrimination can result in long-term economic damage while diverse and inclusive societies improve economic growth prospects. She hopes that the findings can help change the negative perceptions of LGBT+ people and strengthen the argument for decriminalization of same-sex relations in Kenya.

National Commission on Human Rights vice chairman George Morara added that the government should tap every resource possible given the fact that foreign investment is low, youth unemployment is high and the economy is struggling. Campaigners believe that the support of big corporations such as of Thomson Reuters, American Express and Barclays Bank to the OPB report could influence the Kenyan government to adopt more inclusive policies.