According to the 2013 Global Software Survey released by The Software Alliance (BSA), an average of 73 percent of the software installed on personal computers (PCs) across East and Southern Africa in 2013 was not properly licensed. The report found the commercial value of unlicensed software in Kenya alone totalled $128 million last year; in the Middle East and Africa the commercial value of unlicensed software was $4.3 billion in 2013.

Rates of unlicensed software installations declined slightly across the region from 2011 to 2013. In Kenya, the rate was unchanged at 78 percent in 2013; Botswana declined one point to 79 percent; Zimbabwe declined one point to 91 percent; Zambia declined one point to 81 percent; and South Africa declined one point to 34 percent. However, the commercial value of unlicensed software across the region actually decreased from $672 million in 2011 to $540 million in 2013.

“While unlicensed software use has declined slightly, rates are still too high and detrimental to economic growth,” said Marius Haman, Corporate Attorney, and Digital Crimes Unit at Microsoft, one of BSA’s member companies.”

Globally, unlicensed software use continues to be a major problem with 43 percent of the software installed on PCs around the world not properly licensed. Emerging markets now account for 56 percent of all PCs in use globally — and nearly three-quarters of all unlicensed software installations (73 percent). That trend is likely to continue.

One of the alarming trends revealed is the significant gap between workers’ and IT managers’ awareness of company software policies. 42 percent of workers say their companies either do not have a policy on licensed software use or they don’t know, while 86 percent of IT managers claim that their companies have either a written policy or an informal one

Other findings in BSA’s Global Software Survey:

  • The commercial value of unlicensed PC software installations totalled $62.7 billion globally in 2013, a slight decrease from $63.5 billion in 2011.
  • Among the risks associated with unlicensed software, 64 percent of users cited unauthorized access by hackers as a top concern and 59 percent cited loss of data.
  • The Middle East and Africa has the third highest regional rate of unlicensed software tied with Latin America at 59 percent. Asia-Pacific has the highest rate in the world (62 percent) followed by Central and Eastern Europe (61 percent).
  • A gradual shift is occurring in the delivery of software functionality to the cloud, but it will not lower the rate of unlicensed software installations anytime soon. According to the survey, 52 percent of respondents said they shared log-in credentials, this is an increase up from 42 percent in 2011.

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