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Google starts digital engine to accelerate MENA recovery

Program to support regional companies


Google has announced a major program to support companies in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), which in turn would lead to an accelerated recovery in economies as the world fights back the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Grow Stronger with Google initiative will provide an overall proactive ecosystem that will digitize businesses and help them cope up with the everchanging dynamics of the market.

The region-wide program is also a wide-ranged endeavor. With it, the US internet giant aims to help a million people and businesses in the region learn digital skills and grow their organizations by the end of 2021; get 150,000 UAE and Saudi businesses online; distribute USD 4 million in grants and loans from; and dole out USD 9 million in ad grants and credits for businesses and governments. In the UAE, Google has pledged to focus on key sectors, particularly retail and tourism.

Google has been active in the region for over a decade now. In 2018, it launched Maharat min Google, a digital skills training program, which to date has been completed by one million Arabic speakers in MENA.

According to the Arab Monetary Fund, around six million jobs are now at risk in the Arab world. A recent survey from Robert Half showed that 70 percent of UAE employees are reassessing their careers because of COVID-19 and the most in-demand jobs require applied digital skills.