Saudi Arabia and excel in employing women

Saudi Arabia and excel in employing women
Saudi Arabia and excel in employing women

Indeed, the International Monetary Fund extends its appreciation and thanks to the leadership of Saudi Arabia for the presidency of the Group of Twenty, and for its partnership in the establishment of this high-level event that comes at a time.
The Covid-19 pandemic makes increasing the availability of opportunities a more urgent requirement, so how do we combat the pandemic and help the most vulnerable groups when budgets are overburdened? By following the prevailing Arab saying “Do not postpone today’s work until tomorrow.” The core policy areas for action include social spending, youth and women’s employment, and bridging digital divides, and we must act today, because the region and the world are at a moment of transformation – as we confront the headwinds of the pandemic, we are receiving at least some favorable winds thanks to continued spending to combat it. And the accelerating digital transformation that we are witnessing in the world. The decisions taken now will affect the lives of more than 420 million Arabs for years and decades to come, and their qualification for a rapidly changing global economy is the work of today, and should not be postponed. Work in three areas will help increase opportunities.
First, improving health and social safety nets. This can be financed through progressive taxes on income, property and goods. Prioritizing spending and raising efficiency would also help in this regard. There will be fewer avoidable child deaths, more girls who are not illiterate, and fewer people who live in poverty.
Despite the great progress, health and education results in this region are not comparable to the results achieved by similar countries in other regions. There is an “efficiency gap”. But if Arab countries get more value for the money they actually spend, the IMF estimates that the Arab world could close a third of the health and education gap without any new spending. However, some Arab countries are spending efficiently, including for the purposes of facing the pandemic.
Let’s look at Jordan’s initial response to the Covid pandemic, which included imposing a rapid general lockdown with widespread and affordable testing to detect the virus, and taking steps to mitigate the economic damage. These steps included providing immediate tax relief to companies and cash support for vulnerable groups of workers with daily wages.
As for the tests to detect the Corona virus, the UAE and Bahrain are ranked among the best countries in the world in this regard.
Second, increase the employment of youth and women. Addressing the mismatch between available and required skills, removing gender-based restrictions, and strengthening child health care and other means of support will help in this area.
The Kingdom has achieved remarkable progress in this field. In just two years, there has been a significant increase in the percentage of Saudi women who are working or seeking work. The kingdom introduced legislation against discrimination in the workplace and prohibited wage discrimination based on gender, age, or other unrelated factors. Smart enforcement of these measures will be the ultimate determinant of success. Additional procedures are required. However, there is important progress to be made. The third area to move without delay is bridging the digital divides. Increasingly, access to the Internet has come to mean access to health, education, trade, services, and financial and government benefits. In short, access to the Internet is already an access opportunity.
The investment is needed in the physical and human components of the digital infrastructure – training of programmers and engineers, in addition to building fiber optic cables and Internet towers. Digital access has clear advantages: Morocco, for example, provides cash subsidies to 85 percent of eligible informal workers using cell phones.
How can the fund help?
As every Arab country works to adapt such policies to suit its own needs, the fund is ready to help.
We provide policy assistance – either on a bilateral basis or through research, as is the case with our report on Enhancing Access to Opportunities, issued last May, and our study entitled Social Spending for Inclusive Growth in the Middle East and Central Asia. We support capacity development to help put research into practice. We provide financing wherever needed. We have provided additional loans to eight Arab countries this year, with a total credit of $ 26 billion to the region. We are in a position to do more. As we prepare for our annual meetings, Marrakech 2021, we are collaborating with the Arab world on how to encourage a more inclusive, greener, fairer and smarter recovery for all.

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