Digital financial services in sub-Saharan Africa are changing rapidly with diversity in usage and uptake on such a diverse continent.
A GeoPoll study conducted recently shows how Africa’s youth in six nations are engaging with financial services on their mobile money.
The survey was carried out in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Ghana with the result showing similar characteristics in their spending behavior.
In Tanzania, the survey shows that most youth spend their mobile money paying for Gambling, Internet, Pay TV and Airtime.
Tanzania has several mobile money platforms such as M-Pesa, TigoPesa, Airtel Money, Halopesa, T-Pesa, and EazyPesa.
GeoPoll found a surprising consistency across all six countries, where mobile money has a 28 per cent average use rate.
Youth in each country spent most of their mobile money on very similar products. Mobile money was the most popular payment method for Gambling 63 per cent, Home Internet 54 per cent, Pay TV and Airtime tied at 53 per cent
The GeoPoll results tie in with other reports that gambling overall – on and offline – is a real problem across the continent.
Sports betting in particular are fueled by enthusiasm for wagering on European football teams and punters rely almost entirely on mobile money to make bets and collect winnings.
Kenya’s youth are the biggest gamblers on the African continent, and over 12-million betting account holders lose an estimated $2 Billion annually.
The top 12 sports betting and gambling websites in Kenya have total financial turnover above 250 billion, more than the national recurrent budget!
The rise of mobile-money powered betting is causing an equal rise in gambling-related social ills, including addiction, poverty, and mental anguish, including suicide.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has even said he would support a complete ban on gambling in the country, though many see the tax-centric threats and actions as a thinly-disguised tax shakedown versus a real concern for public welfare