A recent study conducted by the National Crime Research Centre in Kenya has shed light on the alarming correlation between escalating unemployment rates and the prevalence of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) crimes in the country.
The study, titled “Information Communication Technology Crimes and Offences in Kenya,” indicates that over 80 percent of respondents attribute the surge in ICT crimes to the pressing issues of unemployment and underemployment.
According to the research findings, the high incidence of ICT crimes is intricately linked to economic vulnerabilities, including unemployment, poverty, financial greed, ICT illiteracy, and the misuse of advanced technology.
“A staggering (87.8%) of respondents believe unemployment or underemployment drives ICT crimes, while (69.7% ) identify poverty as a major factor. Financial greed (68.4%) and lack of ICT literacy (54.7%) also contribute, with (46.6%) pointing to technological misuse,” the study reads.
The study underscores the urgent need to address these root causes to effectively tackle the growing menace of cybercrimes in the nation.
Data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) highlights the grim reality of the labor market. The number of jobless individuals surged to over 2.97 million in the quarter ending December 2022.
This rise of 2.94 percent from 2.89 million in September starkly reflects the economic challenges faced by Kenyans, exacerbated by heightened inflation and reduced activity in the dominant agricultural sector.
The prevalence of ICT crimes in Kenya encompasses various categories, with identity theft and impersonation, computer fraud, interception of electronic messages or money transfers, and unauthorized access being among the most common offenses affecting different sectors and individuals.
However, addressing these issues presents a complex challenge.
The study highlights several obstacles, including inadequate resources to combat cybercrimes effectively, corruption within investigative agencies, low public awareness, insufficient ICT expertise, and high levels of illiteracy.
Delays and inefficiencies in the criminal justice system, coupled with poor implementation of the Computer Misuse and Cyber Crime Act, 2018, further hinder the prosecution of cybercriminals.
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