Microsoft has today launched the Windows PC Affordability in Africa Initiative, a programme that aims to reduce the prevalence of Microsoft software piracy in Africa’s emerging markets. To implement the Initiative, the organisation is working with its major PC partners, Acer, Asus, Dell, Intel, Lenovo, SMD Technologies and Mustek to improve the uptake and affordability of genuine software across the continent.

Providing consumers with an enhanced, authentic experience using genuine software, and in so doing, creating awareness around the topic at hand encompasses two key objectives of this initiative. Africa’s emerging market potential is unparalleled and business development and the growth of existing SME’s remains a key focus across the continent. To tap into this potential growth, access to affordable genuine software and hardware is necessary if the digital divide is to be closed. The future of Africa is reliant on entrepreneur’s ability to start and grow successful businesses, and access to genuine software, that guaranties comprehensive security and protections for devices and data, is critical to the long-term success of these businesses. The same applies for students, who rely heavily on access to devices, software and information to complete tasks and projects. If their devices or data are compromised by malware, viruses or cyber-attacks, they may not be able to communicate or access important information. This could limit people’s ability to learn new skills or limit businesses ability to compete and grow.

For over 35 years, Windows has been on a mission to create software that gives people the power to realize their dreams and master their daily realities. Built on the belief that anyone can do anything—if they have the right tools, Windows delivers easy, familiar experiences that help people create, explore, connect and enjoy. Today, over a billion people around the globe login to Windows to pursue their passions, and we are amazed at what we have seen our customers accomplish. No matter how big or how small, our goal is to empower people to do great things on a Windows PC. However, a pirated version of Windows puts both PCs and people’s data at risk. Only with Genuine Windows 10 provides built-in comprehensive security including ongoing detection and protection from threats, parental controls and many other safety features. From your business to your family to your files, your important assets are protected when a genuine version of Windows 10 is at the heart of your computer.

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“As per our estimates, only a third of PCs being shipped into Africa include genuine software. Because of this, data breaches and malware attacks have increased significantly, resulting in loss of important data and decreased productivity,” said Deniz Ozen, Regional General Manager, Consumer and Device Sales, Microsoft Middle East & Africa.

“At Lenovo, we want to build smarter technology that will equip us with the right tools to improve our lives and the way we work in order to make an impact in the world we live in. We believe that smarter technology can solve problems, create opportunities and transform the way we all live, learn and work. The Windows PC Affordability in Africa Initiative is aligned with our Smarter Technology for All vision which aims to deliver meaningful impact through technology and create a diverse and dynamic world that enhances the human experience. Our partnership with Microsoft allows us to leverage the best in class software to create highly productive IT environments that can help businesses and consumers achieve true innovation through the use of genuine products that do not compromise the security, reliability or efficiency of any of our devices,” said Shashank Sharma, Executive Director and General Manager, Middle East, Turkey and Africa, Lenovo.

In its June 2018 report, The Software Alliance reported that the overall rate of pirated software across the Middle East and Africa was 56 percent, the region also has several countries that rate as the highest users of unlicensed software with Libya and Zimbabwe tipping the scale at 90 and 89 percent respectively. Pirated software is often installed without the end user’s knowledge, and it is those users who suffer the consequences including lost data and unusable PCs.

‘’Through the Windows PC Affordability in Africa Initiative, we aim to educate consumers on the  risks of using pirated software, and to work with our PC ecosystem partners including Acer, Asus, Dell, Intel, Lenovo, Mustek and SMD to make Genuine Windows 10 PCs more affordable across Africa,” said Bradley Hopkinson, Vice President, Consumer & Device Sales, Microsoft.

Of the initiative, Dave Brooke, Vice President, Client Solutions Group, Dell Technologies, CEE & MERAT commented, “It’s easy to take devices for granted in the digital revolution. But without people, there is no revolution and without the right devices, they can’t participate in it. The Windows PC Affordability in Africa Initiative can help close the digital divide and put that power into the hands of those whose lives will be transformed the most. Dell Technologies strives to close this digital gap through sharing understanding around different device and technology ecosystems and enhancing the value created by them. “

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