Last Updated: 2017-06-16
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By Nur Ashikin Abdul Aziz

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia June 16 (NNN-Bernama) -- The D-8 Organisation for Economic Cooperation must make a paradigm shift as it moves past its 20th anniversary Thursday, towards playing a major role in the global economic arena as enormous challenges awaits the group, said its Secretary-General Dr Seyed Ali-Mohammad Mousavi.

He said that to project effectively at international level and play a bigger role that it deserved, D-8, which is also known as Developing-8, must first redouble its efforts to increase the density of traffic and volume of interactions between and among members with a view to fostering economic cooperation and development.

"We also need to increase public awareness of the organisation and its activities, first and foremost within the D-8 community and subsequently on a larger scale and we need to expand liaison and cooperation with other economic and regional groupings and multilateral institutions," he said in an article made available to Bernama, in the occasion of D-8's 20 years of establishment this year.

The D-8, formed on June 15, 1997, by Heads of States of Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey, aims at promoting six agenda namely peace, dialogue, cooperation, justice, equality, and democracy.

It also wants to improve member states' position in the global economy, diversify and create new opportunities in trade relations, enhance participation in decision-making at international level, and improve standards of living.

Mousavi said that the group shared 20 years of socio-economic success, and has emerged as one of the world's promising trade and economic blocs of eight developing countries with over 1.1 billion people or 15 per cent of the world's population, and a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of over US$3.7 trillion.

"There is an annual GDP growth rate of six per cent. From US$2,207 in 1997, average per capita GDP of D-8 rose to US$4,645 in 2016, a strong indicator of the overall improvement in the living standards of the peoples of the member states," he said, noting that with its young and dynamic population, strong trade relations and the will to cooperate in all strategic sectors, D-8 is poised to carry its success to the future.

Mousavi said that legal instruments such as the D-8 Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) signed by all members at the 5th D-8 Summit in 2006 is also another proof of the grouping's success as it envisages a cooperation scheme that will strongly benefit its member countries, and boost trade volume and economic interactions among them.

"The PTA also aspires to facilitate intra-trade and increase its volume to US$500 billion as targeted in the D-8 Roadmap," he said noting that it now recorded an intra-organisational trade of over US$100 billion.

The secretary-general, who is from Iran, noted that through these 20 years, D-8 has signed memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with several organisations such as the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO), the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC), and the International Youth Foundation (IYF).

He said that the group also highly value the contributions made by its affiliated institutions, namely D-8 Seed Bank, D-8 Technology Transfer and Exchange Network (D-8 TTEN), D-8 Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (D-8 FCCI), D8 Fertiliser Association, D-8 Automotive, D-8 International University, D8COOP and D-8 Animal Feed Information Centre (D-8 AFIC) to the development of the shared economic strategy in the organisation.

Mousavi said that as the group marked its 20th anniversary, the organisation was looking forward to consolidating its success with the 9th Summit to be hosted by Turkey, this year.--NNN-BERNAMA