Unemployment and cybercrime
The problem of unemployment in Kenya is neglected by the leading political and economic classes. Young people have a high level of education. Many families hope that the financing of a university course will improve the situation within their own ranks. But the reality is different.
Nevertheless, many Master’s graduates are employed in auxiliary jobs or in activities outside their field of specialisation. Under such conditions, frustration and sometimes even creativity arise. However, creativity can lead to unemployed professionals turning into cybercriminals.
Every day we hear stories of students stealing money from banks, hacking data and trying to cheat financial institutions. A big problem is the attempt by other citizens to steal money from people’s digital purses with the help of M-Pesa.
Just recently, it was reported that young university students were able to dig an underground tunnel unnoticed into the vault of a Kenyan commercial bank and steal millions of shillings in cash. Certainly ready to be filmed. But they were later caught and charged in court. Social networks have again become a disaster. Photographing the amount of money on their own bed and publishing the stolen money led the investigators on the trail of the thieves.
Another story was less cyber, but had to do with good clearing up. Another group of bank robbers could steal money without a trace from several Barclays Bank ATMS. Around 11 million in Kenyan shillings.
They planned and carried out the robberies professionally. The group visited the city’s ATMs in Mutindwa, Buruburu, Kenyatta National Hospital and Mater Hospital in South B shortly after they were filled with cash.
It became apparent that the robbers had done their homework and had a successful day. At the Mutindwa terminal, where 6,290,000 KSH were stolen, there was no surveillance camera. In South-B they left nothing to fail. To cover their tracks, they smeared the CCTV camera with Vaseline. So the camera could only take blurry pictures.
Everywhere they knew how to open the vending machines and what the surveillance systems looked like. A very good planning and possibly insider knowledge.
For a country like Kenya, which has high unemployment among young people but is well educated and not embarrassed by new technology, markets and structures can develop that are not good for a country on the move. This results in false role models and false ideas for other young people as to how to master their lives. What politicians fail to do, the citizens concerned pay back twice as much. Instead of fighting the consequences of unemployment, public money would be better invested in public employment programmes. There is enough to do in our country.