The mobile money penetration has created an unintended consequence of increased sports betting among the youthful population in Africa.
The growth of mobile money in Africa as from 2008 has grown exponentially and fewer Africans continue to go cashless preferring to pay utilities using Mobile money. Physical wallets have been reduced to just a document folder used for carrying Identification documents. Many Africans prefer mobile wallet than plastic cards.
Impact on youth
According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, Kenya is the third largest gambling market after South Africa and Nigeria respectively in Africa in terms of revenues. However, in terms of participants, Kenya could be ahead of its peers in the region this is because Kenya is the pioneer of mobile money in Africa through Mpesa.
With this statistics in mind, Kenya is the leader in the most amount of money spent on gambling. Youth elsewhere spend less than $50 a month and most bet only once a month,
The big question is, where are the youths getting money for betting yet many of the youths are unemployed or not involved in any gainful employment?
The answer is the growth of Fintechs- Mobile lending Apps which are available and non-regulated are the only easiest place to get quick cash. Most of the youths borrow money from these mobile lending apps to gamble/bet with the expectation of paying the loan once they win the bet.
What happens if they don’t win the bet?
They will borrow from one mobile loan lending App and pay the other lending App.
Most of these loan lending applications charge high interest rates because they are not regulated by the government and also the nature of the venture. With increased borrowing from various apps to gamble and to pay the other app the borrowers are eventually caught up on debt trap.
With the debt trap they end up being listed at the credit bureaus which in turn affect their credit score
With the negative credit score the youths are incapacitated financially, Meaning there will be a generation of youths who are not able to access credit to venture into business and create employment. This affects job creation which will eventually create a youthful miserable population having no money making them more vulnerable to politicians who want to push their sinister motives.