A report by Finx today says that Microsoft’s President for Microsoft Middle East & Africa (MEA), Ali Faramawy, is currently in Zimbabwe to forge a partnership with the government so they can “to simplify, standardise as well as integrate [Zimbabwean government ICT] systems.”
On what work the software giant will do, Zimbabwe’s top tax man, Geshem Pasi, is quoted in the report:
Microsoft will support us to improve efficiency and minimise ICT costs as well as implement centralised and standardise solutions across Government, contributing towards reducing software piracy and that also include security enhancement
This, the report say, includes assisting the government with its results based management system, development and maintenance of Ministries’ websites, building ICT knowledge and capacity as well as provision of ICT gadgets for top government officials.
Microsoft is also apparently now considering opening an office officially in the country. During Zimbabwe’s decade of hyperinflation between 2000 and 2010, Microsoft shut down their Zimbabwe official office and only operated in the country through accredited local partners.
Unfortunately, the report doesn’t say much in terms of the specifics of the new partnership on what the government will get in software and service and the size of the deal in cash for licenses Microsoft will get. Globally, Microsoft is facing increased pressure as mobile devices take over consumer computing and increasingly eat away their domination in their enterprise market as well. As the enterprise also increasingly starts experimenting with cloud based solutions for document processing and email, Microsoft is facing stiffer competition from companies like Google.
We will be reaching out to both government and Microsoft to get you the details. In the meantime, here’s the full Finx report.