Kristalina Georgieva, Executive Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said the fund provided additional credit to eight Arab countries this year, with a total credit of $26 billion.\r\n\r\nGeorgieva added during a G20 virtual gathering "Enhancing Access to Opportunities in Arab Countries" on Wednesday that access to opportunities is a critical issue for the Fund, even more importantly, during the coronavirus crisis, which severely affects those who already lack opportunities.\r\n\r\n"We must act today because the region and the world are in a moment of transformation - as we face headwinds from the pandemic, we have at least some backwinds from the ongoing spending to fight the pandemic, and the accelerated digital transformation taking place around the world," IMF director pointed out.\r\n\r\n"The decisions made now will affect the lives of more than 420 million Arabs for years and decades to come. Preparing them for a rapidly changing global economy is the job of today, and it should not be delayed. Working in three areas will help increase access to opportunities," she added.\r\n\r\n"First, health, education and social safety nets should be improved," she said. "This can be paid for by imposing progressive taxes on income, property, and goods. "It will also help better prioritize spending and increase efficiency. In addition, children death rate will drop, more young girls will be educated and fewer people will live in poverty."\r\n\r\nThe IMF estimates the Arab world\u00a0could close a third of the health and education gap\u00a0without any new spending.\r\n\r\nSome Arab countries are spending effectively, especially in their response to the pandemic, including Jordan, UAE, and Bahrain.\r\n\r\nSecond, increase youth and women's employment by addressing skills mismatches, removing gender-based restrictions, and enhancing childcare.\r\n\r\n"Saudi Arabia has made remarkable progress in this field. In just two years, the percentage of Saudi women in work or job seekers has risen dramatically. The kingdom has introduced anti-discrimination legislation in the workplace and prohibited wage discrimination based on sex, and age," Georgieva said.\r\n\r\nThird, bridging the digital gap. More access to the internet is access to health, education, to commerce, to financial and government services and benefits.\r\n\r\n"Access to the internet is access to opportunity," Georgieva stressed.\r\n\r\nIn Morocco, the government offers benefits to 85% of eligible informal workers through mobile phones.\r\n\r\nInvestment is needed in digital infrastructure, including training of programmers and engineers, as well as the installation of fibers and towers.\r\n\r\nThis year, the International Monetary Fund provided additional loans to eight Arab countries, totaling $ 26 billion in credit to the region.\r\n\r\nAs the IMF prepares for Marrakech 2021 annual meetings, it is engaging with the Arab world on how to foster a recovery that is more inclusive, greener, fairer and smarter.