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Google to provide Mideast grants, loans to train digital skills

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Google is seen in Davos, Switzerland Januar 20, 2020. Picture taken January 20, 2020. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

CAIRO (Reuters) - U.S. tech company Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc GOOGL.O, plans to provide grants worth $1.1 million to help businesses in the Middle East and North Africa improve their digital skills and get them online, the company said on Tuesday.

Google will also provide $3 million in loans to thousands of businesses in the region, $2 million of which will go to Egypt, to help them with a digital transformation, the firm said in a presentation to Reuters.

Online consumption in the region is on the rise this year as people stay home due to the novel coronavirus, Google said, adding that according to the Arab Monetary Fund, 6 million jobs are at risk.

A total of 1 million firms or individuals in the region would get help to improve their digital skills to find jobs and get businesses online by the end of 2021, it added. The firm will also provide $9 million in advertising credits and grants to support businesses and governments in the region.

Reporting by Ahmed Elhamy in Cairo; Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Matthew Lewis

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