Kenya in a bold move has decided to eliminate duties on imported software as a means of combatting piracy.
Apparently the piracy rate in Kenya is 83%, double the worldwide average, according to the BSA's 2011 global software piracy report.
Of course, the total value of pirated software in eastern and southern Africa (excluding South Africa) is a relatively paltry $108M, chump change compared to the $9.7B in estimated value of pirated software in the US of A. (Note: I have no dog in this fight--the BSA has been criticized for the manner in which they calculate the "economic value" of pirated software; it's probably an inflated number because not everyone who steals something would buy it otherwise, but it's a consistent measurement so it has value to show trend lines.)
Kenya's Finance Minister, Njeru Githae, is on the right track, but it won't solve the problem. In fact, I doubt it will make a dent in the problem. The reasoning seems to be that someone who is willing to steal something because it costs X will pony up instead if it costs less than X.
Whether this will make ISVs rush to market products in Kenya or not I can't say. I can say unequivocally that the ISVs who aren't worried are the ones using robust software protection. When I park my car downtown, I don't first check to see what the current state of grand theft auto conviction rates are. I have a key, I lock the car, it's hard to steal. I want someone to rip it off, I can leave the key in it. It won't last long that way, unless it belongs to Jerry Seinfield.