Nairobi — The commercial value of unlicensed software installed on personal computers in Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA), which excludes South Africa, reached $109 million in 2010 as 83 per cent of software deployed on PCs during the year was pirated.
This stands at almost double the global piracy rate for PC software, which is 42 per cent, having risen by 3.6 points on the previous five year average.
These are among the findings of the Business Software Alliance (BSA) 2010 Global Software Piracy Study, which evaluates the state of software piracy around the world.
During the past 5 years since 2006, Botswana's piracy rate has dropped by 2 per cent; Kenya's by just 1 per cent; while Zimbabwe's rose by one per cent in 2008, but returned to the 2006 rate of 91 per cent in 2010.
Zambia's piracy rate has remained unchanged year over year. Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's piracy rate of 91 per cent is the second highest in the world.
"These findings show that little progress has been made in reducing the software piracy rate in East and Southern Africa and there is much more work to be done," said Dale Waterman, chair, BSA Middle East and Africa Committee, and also the Microsoft's Corporate Attorney for Anti-Piracy for the Middle East and Africa region.
"The further we reduce software piracy, the better it will be for the region's economies."
Globally, the opinion survey found strong support for intellectual property rights, with seven in 10 respondents expressing support for paying inventors for their creations to promote more technology advances.
Strikingly, support for intellectual property rights was strongest in markets with high piracy rates.
The survey also found widespread recognition that licensed software is better than pirated software, because it is understood to be more secure and more reliable.