The Developing-8 has made vital progress despite its young age, the secretary-general of the economic bloc said Tuesday, marking its 24th anniversary.
In a statement, Ambassador Dato’ Ku Jaafar Ku Shaari said the common goal of "eight different countries, eight different cultures, eight different heritages," is to have a "Strong D-8 Market and Economy."
The D-8 organization was launched on June 15, 1997, after Turkey's then-Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan, proposed the creation of an economic group consisting of eight emerging economies from the Muslim world, including Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Turkey.
After chairing the term presidency for two years, Turkey in early April handed it over to Bangladesh.
The Secretary-General said the economic bloc "has always been a veritable global infrastructure of multilateral cooperation and will continue to make its name heard as it has the potential to increase its effectiveness even more."
He also praised Erbakan, the founding father of the organization, for his "brilliant ideas and concrete actions, thus the first seeds of the D-8 Organization began to be planted."
Shaari said the D-8 "will continue to move forward with a result-oriented and action-based approach."
Shaari further stated the aim of the bloc is to "improve the developing countries’ positions in the world economy, diversify and create new opportunities in trade relations, enhance participation in decision-making at the international level, and provide a better standard of living for our people."
Noting "the D-8 countries command a combined GDP of about $4 trillion and a total population of 1.16 billion," Shaari said, "...macroeconomic indicators have clearly depicted our organization as the next 'Economic Powerhouse'."
He also praised the member states for their commitment and officials who work relentlessly for the success of D-8.
At its 10th summit in April hosted by Bangladesh, the bloc adopted the D-8 Decennial Roadmap for 2020-2030 and the Dhaka Declaration 2021.
The members agreed to enhance trade cooperation and bring their domestic trade volumes to at least 10% of the organization’s total trade in the next decade.
In this context, D-8 Director Nasir Aminu told Anadolu Agency that the "decennial roadmap is designed to give direction and guidance to the members of the organization in various sectoral cooperation."
"It's designed to enhance the cooperation and to ginger members to come up with concrete projects in various sectors of cooperation," he said while expressing hopes for it "to galvanize support for various initiatives that will take the organization to the next level."
The roadmap includes cooperation in the areas of trade, agriculture, and food security, industrial cooperation and small-and-medium-sized enterprises, energy, transport and connectivity, tourism, and health.
In the first stage from 2020-2022, the bloc will focus on generating and preparing projects in primary cooperation areas such as trade, industry, tourism, agriculture and food security, energy, and transportation.
Commenting on the latest possible projects, Aminu said: "We have started receiving concrete project proposals. One of them is the D-8 Health and Social Protection Program (D8 HSP) that is planning to facilitate the production of medicines, among member states using the most developed ones regarding this area that is Turkey and Indonesia."
He said the D8 HSP program also aims to ensure vaccine sufficiency, reduce the case count of COVID-19, as well mortality rates among members of the organization.
"Another project that we envisage is on tourism, where we are going to have our tourism meeting in Pakistan, Islamabad. We believe that concrete proposals will come out of that meeting too," he said.
Aminu further said that the organization began working on its "Network of Pioneers for Research and Innovation (D-8 NPRI)," adding that the platform will bring the bloc members' "researchers, government and semi-government research institutes, industrial research institutes and researchers in D-8 universities under one umbrella in order to expand the level of innovation."
The bloc on its social media account shared a post marking its foundation anniversary with a short video displaying footages from previous D-8 events.