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LGBTI discrimination costs Kenya up to $1.3 billion every year

LGBTI discrimination costs Kenya up to $1.3 billion every year

Rainbow Pride at the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya

LGBTI discrimination and a lack of rights is hurting the economy of Kenya, a new report states.

Open for Business is an organization which gathers companies from across the globe advocating the idea that inclusion and diversity benefit the economy.

The coalition released a report on the state of Kenya’s economy and their lack of LGBTI protections this month.

Overall, the report found that LGBTI discrimination costs Kenya between $181 million (€159 million) to $1.3 billion (€1.1 billion) per year.

This is about 0.2% to 1.7% of the country’s annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It is also 30% of the government’s spending on education and 144% of its spending on health in 2018.

Three major factors

Open for Business identified three major factors affected by LGBTI discrimination that could improve the economy.

The first is lost money from LGBTI tourists. Due to the lack of rights and protections in the country, LGBTI tourists are less likely to travel Kenya. Open for Business estimates the country is losing out on $64 million (€56 million) to $140 million (€123 million) because of this.

They also note the service sector of Kenya’s economy, of which tourism dominates, takes up about 64% of the GDP.

The second factor is poor healthcare in the country, especially for those who are HIV positive. This costs Kenya about $1 billion (€880 million) and 1.4% of their GDP. It’s also more than the entirety of what the government spent on all other healthcare costs in 2018.

Furthermore, depression amongst LGBTI people in Kenya, is another critical issue.

Graphis showing HIV and depression rates in Kenya
HIV and depression rates in Kenya | Photo: Open for Business

Finally, the underemployment, wage gaps, and lower productivity of LGBTI employees due to discrimination is costing the country $105 million (€92 million) per year.

How inclusion improves an economy

Open for Business offers 27 different propositions in three categories about how discrimination — or a lack thereof — impacts the economy.

Under ‘economic performance’, they state how discrimination creates roadblocks in reaching global markets. For ‘business performance’, more diverse companies are also more likely to benefit from LGBTI people’s consumer habits.

Finally, ‘individual performance’ offers the final eight propositions, including motivation, in which employees working in diverse and open environments are more motivated than others.

The graphs below show trends between LGBTI inclusion and economies.

LGBTI inclusion is linked to rises in GDP
LGBTI inclusion is linked to rises in GDP | Photo: Open for Business report
Graph about ease of business and LGBTI inclusion
The World Bank also shows that LGBTI inclusion establishes an ease of business in a country | Photo: Open for Business report

Finally, the report also shows that cities’ with higher scores of LGBTI inclusion generally have higher rates of quality of living as well.

Graph showing LGBTI inclusion means a higher quality of living
LGBTI inclusion means a higher quality of living | Photo: Open for Business report

This is an especially critical report at this time, as Kenya’s High Court postpones making a decision on decriminalizing homosexuality. They were supposed to give their ruling on 22 February but instead moved it to 24 May.

See also

UN moves LGBTI refugees to safe houses in Nairobi after Kenyan camp attacks

These statistics prove Illinois is a dream destination for LGBTI people

Newspaper accused of blaming ‘rise of gays’ for the stagnant economy