Impact of unlicensed software in Africa - CNBC Africa

Impact of unlicensed software in Africa

Special Report

by Elayne Wangalwa 0

There is a rise in unlicensed software installations in personal computers across the globe. PHOTO: Getty Images

A survey by BSA unveils that a striking 43 per cent of the software installed on personal computers globally in 2013 was not properly licensed and the commercial value of the installations amounted to 62.7 billion US dollars.

“It has some seriously damaging consequences for both the owners of the software and the users but more importantly it has a serious economic impact.” Tomi Davies CEO, TechnoVision told CNBC Africa.

According to Davies, part of the money from unlicensed software installation in Nigeria is being used to fund illegal activities like global terrorism.

Nigeria accounted for 287 million US dollars of the commercial value of unlicensed software in 2013.

“We also find that it undermines online stability because of malware. This year alone according to the International Data Corporation one and a half billion hours and 22 billion US dollars are going to be spent just recovering from malware,” Davies said.


The rapidly improving broadband availability in Africa has resulted to more people downloading software off the internet making it's harder for people to be sure if what they are downloading is genuine.

“Unwittingly, they [people] become accomplices in cyber-attacks. What you do not know is that it has created a backdoor and when you have attacks like what we call ‘denial of service attacks’. Your machine becomes one of the participating machines in that particular attack,” Davies explained.

“One of the ways to reverse this trend is to actually up your game locally. What is a major contributing factor is the psychology of our people culturally in terms of their approach to intellectual property.”

According to BSA, governments are the largest users of software in the world. As with all organisations, they can benefit from good corporate governance and adopting software asset management (SAM) practices. Governments can also promote SAM and use of fully licensed software in state-owned enterprises, and among contractors and suppliers.

The Software Alliance is the leading advocate for the global software industry before governments and in the international marketplace.