DUBAI--Yahoo has called in Hill & Knowlton to help it boost its profile across the Middle East and North Africa.

The internet player selected H&K to handle the assignment following a four-way pitch that displaced incumbent Ogilvy PR. The account is hubbed out of Dubai, and includes ongoing programmes in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, along with projects in Saudi Arabia.

Online growth in the Middle East is surging, reaching 63 million users in 2010. In 2009, Yahoo made a significant move to tap into this potential by snapping up leading Arab online community Maktoob. More recently, social networking and mobile sites have proved to be critical resources for the wave of protests sweeping the region.

H&K Middle East and Africa CEO Dave Robinson told the Holmes Report that the firm would aim to build Yahoo’s profile as the reigon’s premier digital media company, “driving reach and engagement with B2C audiences, driving revenue through B2B communications and communicating around Yahoo! products and technology.”

The programme also includes a “large amount of social media outreach”, added Robinson.