Pirated software outnumbers genuine in Malawi

September 15, 2015

Pirated software which could be infected by malware could slow down the performance of computer systems, affecting overall performance.Nearly 84 percent of Malawi computer users operate pirated software, despite officials and vendors attempts to raise awareness for using genuine programs, according to a new report on software piracy in the Southern African country in my possession. According to a recent study from an independent software vendors operating in the country , 84 percent of all programs installed on computers in Malawi in 2013 were unlicensed or pirated and a significant part of that number is consumers.The report add that Malawi’s piracy rate dropped by only one point from 85 percent in 2012.SVA also estimated that the pirated software industry had a commercial value of US$11million, which partly indicates the potential losses borne by software giants, such as Microsoft.This is against a trend in other parts of Sub Saharan Africa where genuine software uptake is on the rise.

In fact small and medium-sized enterprises lead in using pirated softwares, previously that the non governmental and Malawian government had started an anti-piracy campaign several years ago, but people’s awareness of intellectual property rights remained low despite the efforts to build digital literacy.There are several companies that are helping the country better manage their software assets by focusing on education.Unconfirmed report informed your blogger than an American software giant, through its local arm in Malawi, had promoted the importance of protecting IPR through specific agreements on the use of genuine company software with universities in Malawi.My source revealed that people’s computers would not likely be infected with malicious software if they used genuine software, which provided cyber security.Malware can erase data, files and personal information, and is usually created by criminals aiming to steal sensitive data from businesses and other institutions by pirating emails, social networking sites and bank accounts.

Cyber security is becoming more and more relevant as Malawi has moved from a physical society to an electronic one, so guaranteeing the security of those transactions is very important. A recent study conducted by an international organisation in Lilongwe and Blantyre found that 86 percent of all personal computers in those two cities were infected with malware.The percentage was higher than the global figure of 60 percent. The study also estimated that consumers in Malawi would need to spend $10 million this year on fixing security issues resulting from the use of pirated software.There are genuine initiatives by companies operating there as franchise holders of companies like Microsoft about reducing the use of pirated software which would also be of importance for business people.Several years back Boston Consulting Group study estimated that a small business using genuine software would create two times more jobs and grow revenue 50 percent faster than those using pirated software.

Contador Harrison