Information Communication Technology Minister Nelson Chamisa on Tuesday urged Zimbabweans to shun piracy of software and hardware devices and support the growth of ICTs in the country.
Minister Chamisa was speaking while officially opening Microsoft's second annual technical and networking conference with the theme "Microsoft Open Door" in Harare.
"We have recorded the highest percentage of 92 percent of piracy which is the highest percentage in the world and the time is now to act against such a shameful practice that has destroyed the image of our beloved country," he said.
"I had a meeting recently with the Minister of Information ,Minister Webster Shamu and decided to enact stiff penalties to those who are found pirating software or hardware devices anywhere in Zimbabwe."
Minister Chamisa called for Microsoft to offer affordable prices for their products to Zimbabwe and Africa.
"The open door conference is a platform for us to develop lasting solutions towards developing our ICTs, also Microsoft must give accessibility of its latest products to Zimbabwe as well as giving prices that are affordable and reasonable."
Microsoft launched its freshly-released Windows 8 at the conference.
Microsoft East and Southern Africa general manager Mr Eric Odipo said Zimbabwean firms should harness the initiative of Windows 8 and expand their businesses.
"Windows 8 allows the consumers to create, work and play with the personalised experience that fits their unique style and needs," he said.
"Unlike the past operating system, Windows 8 offers a huge global opportunity for Zimbabwean companies with the focus on commerce and monetisation to expand anddevelop their business goals."
Mr Odipo noted the rise of software piracy in Zimbabwe which now stands at 92 percent according to the 2011 BSA global software piracy study.
"We are calling upon the Government to enforce laws against piracy," he said. "If nothing is done to curb the high piracy rate then we are at risk of killing the very industry we seek to grow."
Microsoft is the world leader in software, services and solutions and was founded in 1975 to help people and business to realise their full potential .