Saudi Arabia, Google partner in plan to ‘level-up’ Mideast

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Lino Cattaruzzi, managing director for Google in MENA. (Supplied)
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Updated 18 October 2020

Saudi Arabia, Google partner in plan to ‘level-up’ Mideast

  • The program includes cloud training for local businesses, as well as workshops on advanced digital skills, such as a machine learning platform that will teach about 140,000 developers with a focus on women

DUBAI: Several Saudi ministries have teamed up with tech giant Google to launch a set of projects aimed at helping the Kingdom’s economic strategy and digital transformation.

Google said the initiatives will focus on Saudi Arabia and the MENA region and will boost economic recovery amid the coronavirus pandemic. The program, named “Grow stronger with Google,” will include a comprehensive list of digital tools, grants and training opportunities to support local businesses and job seekers across the region. In the Kingdom, Google will target the retail, tourism and technology sectors, including Saudi Post, which will list 100,000 local entities on the company’s digital platform and train employees in online marketing.
“We are proud to partner with Google in this initiative to bring value to Saudi nationals, residents and local businesses, especially SMEs through bringing them together using the Google ‘My Business’ platform,” said President of the Saudi Post Anef Abanomi.
“Through this partnership we aim to list up to 100,000 businesses in the first phase in line with Saudi Post’s strategic transformation objectives to improve quality of life and help SMEs achieve their e-commerce and digitization goals,” he added.
Lino Cattaruzzi, managing director for Google in MENA, said in a press release: “During the pandemic, online tools have been a lifeline for many in Saudi Arabia. Making the most of the online opportunity can help Saudi people, businesses and communities and in the wider region bounce back stronger.” He said the program will equip businesses and individuals in the Kingdom with digital skills, especially in sectors that have been most affected by the pandemic, such as retail and tourism.

HIGHLIGHT

In the Kingdom, Google will target the retail, tourism and technology sectors, including Saudi Post, which will list 100,000 local entities on the company’s digital platform and train employees in online marketing.

The tech giant has also partnered with several Saudi bodies — including the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and the Ministry of Tourism — to implement the programs. One project is set to train 50,000 students and businesses in digital marketing.
“We remain fundamentally optimistic about the future of this region, and we’re confident that by working together with local partners, we can boost recovery and build on the rapid acceleration of tech adoption we’ve seen during the crisis,” Cattaruzzi said.
The program also includes cloud training for local businesses, as well as workshops on advanced digital skills, such as a machine learning platform that will teach about 140,000 developers with a focus on women.
Google said it wants to help 1 million people and businesses throughout the MENA region learn digital skills and grow businesses by the end of 2021.


Virus vaccine waiting on Saudi ‘green light’

A man works in a laboratory of Chinese vaccine maker Sinovac Biotech, developing an experimental coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine, during a government-organized media tour in Beijing, China, September 24, 2020. (REUTERS)
Updated 24 min 56 sec ago

Virus vaccine waiting on Saudi ‘green light’

  • Health Ministry reports 398 new COVID-19 cases, 404 recoveries, 20 deaths

JEDDAH: China’s Sinovac coronavirus vaccine is set to be administered to Saudi patients after passing third stage clinical trials, but remains on hold until approved by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority.

King Abdullah International Medical Research Center (KAIMRC) signed an agreement with China’s Sinovac Biotech to receive a vaccine for COVID-19 to be distributed to about 7,000 health workers.
The vaccine has passed the third stage of trials at the King Abdullah Center for the National Guard.
“So far there have been no health complications or allergic reactions in those who have tried the vaccine, except for a fever or mild migraine, but that is normal when vaccination is administered with any virus,” said Aref Al-Amri, head of the Department of Biomolecules and Cytogenetics at the regional laboratory in Riyadh.

FASTFACTS

The total number of coronavirus cases in KSA reached 346,880.

The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom reached 333,409.

KAIMRC’s vaccine unit was among 10 global bodies chosen to test and evaluate several vaccines as part of an international alliance by the World Health Organization, CEPI and NIBSC.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia reported 20 new COVID-19-related deaths on Friday, raising the death toll to 5,383. There were 398 new cases reported in the Kingdom, meaning 346,880 people have contracted the disease. There are 8,088 active cases, 766 of which are in critical condition.
According to the Health Ministry, 53 of the newly recorded cases were in Riyadh, while Makkah recorded 32 and Jeddah 37. The ministry also announced that 404 more patients had recovered from the virus, bringing total recoveries in the Kingdom to 333,409.
There were 56,255 polymerase chain reaction tests conducted in the past day, bringing total test numbers to more than 8 million.