The increased use of mobile money services has lifted 2% of Kenyan households from extreme poverty in the past nine years, according to a new study conducted by Massachusetts Institute of Technology scholars.

Investigating the financial and social impacts of mobile money transfer services on Kenyans since 2008, economists Taveet Suri and William Jack say that the services have increased daily per capita consumption levels of many poor homes from survival level of less than Sh125 (USD1.25) a day.

Women-headed households have especially benefited from this, notably by being able to even use the money to do business.

This has been made possible through improved financial management in terms of savings, and formation of more diverse risk-sharing networks, which have made them more financially resilient and able to protect themselves against economic shocks.

Underlying this cut in the poverty rate is the fact that money can change hands faster, with minimal inconvenience and at lower expenses than was the case previously.

Gone are the days when it was necessary either to travel physically to a location to give someone cash that they needed just to purchase something urgently or they had to use unreliable carriers in the form of public transport vehicles or other people.

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