PUBLISHERS NOTE

The data economy

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The year 2020 seems to be galloping at an unprecedented pace, granted this might just be my own delusion. We are already approaching the end of the first quarter of the year, yet it feels just like yesterday when we ushered in the new year. If my delusions are anything to go by, then time has become the most precious commodity in the modern era. The first quarter of the year is an important measure of the performance and sets the tone and tempo for the rest of the year. It therefore makes it imperative to have a tight grip on the value and management of time, otherwise before we know it the year will have gone by and we won’t have anything to show for the time passed.

As the year unfolds the global race for the data economy is picking momentum. Also referred to as the second economy, it is leading the pack in shaping the global dynamics, geo-politics and wealth distribution. At the helm of the data economy are the mythical business creatures called unicorns. The fascination around these business creatures lies in their impact on the global economy, engines of artificial intelligence and also the immense wealth they create.

It is vital to analyse and appreciate this economy; governments elsewhere are beginning to measure and value the country’s data. Beyond measuring the value of data is also the economics. Some schools of thought view data as a public good which must be used widely to maximize wealth creation, while others perceive it as private property linked to intellectual property. The economics of the data economy are further compounded by the dynamics pertaining to digital sovereignty and territorial boundaries.

The economist special report on the data economy, reflects Naspers as the only African and Americas unicorn valued at seventy-three, point one billion dollars ($73.1 bn). It is worth noting the significant barriers to entering this market, among others are limited funding, a dearth of talent, inadequate infrastructure and a plethora of social challenges.

As we traverse the year 2020 in pursuit of our individual and collective prosperities, it might be worth taking a leaf from Joe Cocker’s classics N’oubliez Jamais: “Sing your own song, dance your own dance and never forget, every generation has its own song”.

The oracle of leadership magazine reckons this generation song and dance is the data economy.

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