Opinion
Is information the new form of currency?
Publish Date: Apr 01, 2014
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By Henry Kitunzi

Whoever controls something valuable becomes wealthy. This holds true with all the well-known valuable resources in the world today be it salt, oil and gas, gold, diamond or anything else of value.


Perhaps we have seen how those who have control mainly over oil and gas, gold and diamond, and recently uranium and plutonium have emerged to become some of the wealthiest people on earth. When one talks of Arabs, what they control is evident.

The common characteristic with these resources is that they are scarce and whoever discovers any of them, guards and protects it passionately. That is why the Albertine region in Uganda is a no go zone to anyone.

As a matter of fact, the struggle to have power or control over these resources or say sources of wealth has led to endless civil wars and conflicts coupled with all forms of intrigue and manipulations with Africa being the most affected.

In this globalising culture fuelled by technological innovations, information has seen its way into being the new source of wealth. In fact some think tanks argue that we are in the information age. Society has places value on knowledge.

Last year, a renowned evangelist Dr. Myles Monroe visited Uganda to speak at a business forum hosted at Serena hotel in Kampala.  Guess what people paid sh150,000 which is equivalent to $60 to attend and the whole conference was filled.

The last time if I can remember Ugandans have ever spent enormously on an international figure, was during the R. Kelly concert sponsored by the then Airtel Uganda and the fee was sh100,000.

Why did those who attended have to spend all that money? The only answer I can probably give is that Dr. Myles had the information which people desired. They believed that he had the keys to unlock their potential.

But what is information? Information is knowledge that can be communicated. But it must bear facts and details about a certain subject. Whoever possesses it has the power.

Perhaps this brings us to the saying, knowledge is power, which has been modified to - applied knowledge is power. Dr. Myles had the knowledge, or the power to influence Ugandans to pay him that huge amount of money. In fact during the seminar, he boasted that he ever since he left public service, he earns $120,000 per hour from giving public speeches.

Currently there is an ‘outbreak’ which has hit Uganda in the name of providing information on how to become successful or say become rich in the struggling economy. The evidence of this is the different Pakasa forums which have been held in different parts of the Kampala spearheaded New Vision’s Chief Executive Officer, Robert Kabushenga.

In these forums, people who society thinks are successful in their areas of expertise are invited to tell their stories which are believed to be inspirational to many. What I don’t know is whether they are paid, although I hear attendance has always been free of charge. But anyway, the point is, the knowledge they share is believed to stimulate the brains of those in the audience listening attentively. These people are invited because they are believed to have facts and details in different areas of influence.

In another instance, people go churches and mosques every Sunday and Friday respectively to praise and worship and to be edified by the sermons given by their religious leaders. We can all read or listen to the Bible or the Qur’an, but our comprehension is different. But a pastor or a Sheikh has that anointing to interpret the Bible or the Qur’an respectively in a way which can inspire the flock. In other words, the pastor or the sheikh has the power or say applied knowledge to inspire the congregation.

Today consultants are highly paid in their area of expertise because of what they know. When you go to the stock markets, speculators earn four digit figures in dollars for providing accurate information.

Lastly, whoever will give accurate information concerning the whereabouts of Flight MH370 will reap highly and probably accredited.

I repeat, is information the new form of currency? I leave that to you!

The writer is a development consultant


 

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