Association for Free Research and International Cooperation

Data: The New Currency

Article from AFRIC editorial
The world’s most valuable resources are no longer minerals, oil, cocoa, it is DATA. Nations in past time, have positioned natural resources as their most treasured assets, which truly yielded so many economic benefits, creating employment, and other relevant value that has developed nations from centuries to centuries. Countries especially in Africa, are blessed with diverse natural resources that stand as the countries economic backbone. Either they are been processed into products or exported as raw material into the world market for exchange value.

With a populace of 1.3 billion, Africa is at a growing fast rate where 2.6% whereof the demographic is youth and it is the biggest demographic and is heavily connected to the internet.

It means our data as a continent is a full trade asset for technologies entities somewhere on the globe . Due to the new big business of data, huge firms have sprung up especially from Silicon Valley. Companies like Uber, facebook, instagram only’s job is to leverage people’s content whiles sending it to others to make millions daily through the act of connecting people to their needs. These platforms have over two millions active users, these users can be equated to the consumers leading to revenue generation; millions of dollars, not leaving out Goggle, therefore data has become the new currency.


Facebook reported, it had 170 million subscribers in 2017, which comprises 15% of the total population of Africa, and the fact is these number keeps growing hastily. These companies are making millions each day as it is reported that they sell the data of users to second parties like communication firms, advertisers, etc. While the users benefit nothing except for accounts opened on such platforms   It is very clear Africa contribute massively to the data economy, how then do we benefit as a continent.

Awareness and Education of Data Economy, our universities, need to be injected with the knowledge of data science, developing specialists who can master the data economy which to a large extent liquidate in economic value. The western nation, for this reason, has built Silicon Valley to birth technology experts who are creating multi-million dollar companies from data. It is time to embed data education, massive technology, and engineering in our educational system. This should not be just the action of Government, a collective decision and involvement of political institutions including African Union, ECOWAS, etc.

With the education and mastering of gathering data and correctly processing it, the region can easily commercialize its vast database.

The establishment of specialized resource centers would go along way. Most African entrepreneurs have taken to the direction of digitalization as they have implemented data and technology in every sector. Aside from the implementation of data education in universities, regional centers for data analysis and economy should be created solely focusing on how Africans can establish companies solving societal issues as well as leveraging on data. The likes of Silicon Valley have produced many beneficial companies we even patronize from, which then stops us as a region to establish the likes of such institutions.


A country’s data assets span from different angels from Governmental data to the public sector, statics, business data from personal or public. This shows that vital information on institutions’ systems and individuals are can be accessed by individuals or companies which gives them right and control over these data. It is ideal for Government to fight for better privacy and online protection of citizens. Recently, Facebook went to court concerning data privacy and protection. Though it looks difficult, the Government can ensure safe data protection and privacy for its citizens. Because data is a commodity, and preservation of it is critical. We need to create laws and policies that regulate data nationally, regionally and continentally.

Making our data valuable, this has been one of Africa’s big issues; not being able to process our natural resources into valuable products often leading to the dictating of price and its value in the international market. The continent presents the raw material to the market world, thus price or value stated is minimum while the western countries developed these resources into products or ideas that bring value to society and people’s life. The value or money for processed products huge and usually the profits go to the western world. This same mentality must be discarded with data economy, if this requires the right skills and right people then investments need to be channeled, data because data being in its raw form is useless, but the right action and skills utilize into the raw data can raise huge benefits economically. The government must develop technological capacity, assemble and process African database, and its resources which can be monetized and foster development, this need to be collective decision across the region

Article from AFRIC Editorial

Photo Credit : google image/illustratio

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