"From our standpoint, those governments, and indeed every customer, should always decide which software solutions meet their needs most appropriately. We strongly believe that governments must carefully consider all costs of acquiring and using a PC, along with the benefits of widespread application availability, maintenance, and training," he said.
Above is a quote from the article.
The main problem with their statement is that they believe the main qualifier is "widespread application availability". With Linux they have greater availability of applications because everyone can freely take and distribute them, redistribute them, use them, do whatever they want with them including modify them.
Then to a lesser extent they talk about maintenance. Well, as has already been stated there's plenty of maintainability of open source code for anyone that wants to use it. In fact, the government employees of any country in the world can maintain the code at will. There's absolutely no issue with maintainability whatsoever in the open source community as anyone can do anything they want to the code at their own convenience.
Training is the last part of their statement. One must understand that parity amongst applications is a reality. Applications that support the Open Doc format will be programs that function in a known manner. For instance, there are only so many ways to bold face text or copy and paste text. The concept of formatting a paragraph, numbering, inserting formulas into a cell, etc are all pretty standardized. Not to mention what's primarily being talked about here is the use of Linux in schools, thus students are going to get all the training they could desire on using Linux and other Open Source programs.
The interface is what they may consider to be the main element of training aside from individual applications and that has little to do with the OS (rather applications which Microsoft must feel they are entitled to sell after the fact, and that will cost those government (their government) a considerable sum). With Linux you learn the interface and then train on any given application. If the application's interface had been a significant issue for training then in Office 2007 Microsoft would not have forced everyone in the world to undergo a retraining of sorts, one that was a major pain for a lot of people. Using programs such as Open Office 3.0 you need not go through the hard costly training that you'd require to go from Office 2003 to Office 2007.
As well, the broader community in Africa in that region has decided on Linux. That means that anyone using Windows would technically be at a disadvantage. Using their logic, they should learn Linux or be left behind.
There are other reasons one would not want to use Windows in those areas. For instance, if they use Windows they will be saddled with draconian restrictions management, which we all know is a method used to protect markets and to lock you into technology and thus the monopolistic businesses that created them. Many countries don't have our copyright and IP laws and many don't believe in them. By using Windows with DRM they'll effectively be forced to comply with those monopolistic company's interpretation of US law concerning copyright and IP.
And finally, it should always be cheaper to purchase a PC without an OS. Though someone must install an OS on a PC without an OS the task is part of the maintenance cycle and becomes rather rote. As well, today's distributions are relatively simple to install on solid hardware and generally the cost of a Linux distribution support contract + the PC + the long term affect in the region on training + the freedom to do what they want with the code + the fact that they know no one will be spying on them + the freedom to follow their own laws on copyright and IP makes Linux the prime choice, as it should for everyone.