Microsoft has released, for the first time, a software package that comes in African languages.
Users of Africa Pack will have access to a localized software experience in KiSwahili (an East Africa coastal language); Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba (Nigerian languages); and Amharic from Ethiopia.
The interface including commands, dialogue boxes and more in those six languages, which according to Microsoft are the most spoken languages in terms of numbers in sub-Saharan Africa.
Also included in the 'Africa Pack' are Microsoft security essentials, Windows Live essential, an Africa theme pack, Internet Explorer 9 and Windows 7 service pack 1.
Microsoft said the suite has locally relevant content and is free to consumers across Africa who purchase or currently run a genuine version of Windows 7. The software will also be made available to Microsoft partners to distribute with new PCs that are preinstalled with, or bundled with locally attached, copies of genuine Windows.
The suite also available in both English and French, is already available free to consumers via Microsoft.com.
Online downloads, though, are proving costly because of the high cost of bandwidth and limited access to the Internet.
In a sample of countries in West, East, and Central Africa for example, the commercial value of antivirus software is $30 per PC per year but the cost of downloading this one application via the Internet ranges from $25-$40 in bandwidth costs.
"By making these tools available offline, we're lowering the barrier to access and delivering a significant cost savings to African consumers," according to a press statement by Hennie Loubser, general manager of Microsoft West, East, Central Africa and Indian Ocean Islands.
"The Africa Pack has the added benefit of delivering a localized experienced when using those tools, where the user interface is in the user's native language."
Loubser said access to enhancements and innovations in the Africa Pack is just one of the benefits of purchasing genuine versions of Microsoft software. Microsoft will distribute an initial 10,000 copies of its Africa Pack to managed partners and distributors across West, East, Central Africa and Indian Ocean Islands and additional copies within the region in coming months.