The Mozambican government signed in Maputo on Wednesday a partnership agreement with the multinational computer company Microsoft. The document, valid for three years, was signed between Science and Technology Minister Venancio Massingue and the Microsoft director for Africa, Cheik Diarra.

On the occasion, Massingue said that this agreement represents a new stage in the relationship between Mozambique and Microsoft, which began in 2004, when they signed a cooperation protocol and a memorandum of understanding. This relationship was renewed when Mozambican President Armando Guebuza held talks with Microsoft chairperson Bill Gates during the meeting of the Government Leaders Forum, that took place in the South African city of Cape Town, in July 2006.

Wednesday's agreement "is the materialization of this intention to cooperate, that introduces a framework for purchase and management of Microsoft licences in government and public institutions", said Massingue. He added that the document will facilitate access of Mozambique to Microsoft's Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).

Massingue further added that Mozambique intends to create software centres to respond to the current problems the country is facing. "We want every Mozambican to take advantage of the ICTs, and we expect Microsoft to take part in the implementation of the Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy, that was launched in Maputo by President Guebuza earlier today", he said.

The agreement defines Electronic government, Education, and the development of a National Information and Communication Technologies Industry as the main projects to be funded by Microsoft.

Massingue explained that in the initial stage, 2,416 computers will be licenced in various ministries and other state institutions, which means that all new purchases of computers by public institutions will be licenced by Microsoft and will benefit from regular updating. The agreement will also allow the adoption of standard prices, with added bonuses for government institutions and, possibly, also for public companies.

Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique