Visit by the delegation of the Group of Eight Developing Countries (D-8) Headed by Ambassador/ Isiaka Imam
On May 30, 2022, ECFA hosted a delegation of the Eight Developing Countries Organization for for Economic Cooperation (D-8), which includes Egypt, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey, headed by the new Secretary-General of the Group, Ambassador Isiaka Imam, of Nigerian nationality; to talk about developments in economic cooperation among the D-8 countries, trade exchanges, and the Group’s participation in decision-making at the international level. The meeting was opened by Ambassador Dr. Mounir Zahran, ECFA Chairman, and attended by the two ambassadors Dr. Ezzat Saad, ECFA Director, and Hisham Al-Zimaity, as well as Dr. Sadiq Abdel-Aal, Dr. Mohamed Hassouna, and businessman Mr. Mohamed Kassem. Ambassador Imam thanked ECFA for the hosting, indicating that it is the first time that a meeting takes place between the D-8 and ECFA, and that continuous interaction should be achieved among all concerned parties within the Member States of the Group, in order to try to benefit from the enormous capabilities enjoyed by the D-8 countries combined, as the Group, in terms of containing the equivalent of approximately 14% of the world’s population, has a gross domestic product estimated at about 5% of the world’s gross product, and a trade volume that represents approximately 4.5% of the world trade volume, as well as about 50% of the total trade volume within the framework of the Organization for Islamic cooperation.
In this context, the delegation reviewed the D-8 achievements at all agricultural, industrial, commercial, tourism and scientific levels, and its communication with various international organizations in order to enhance the Group’s role at the international level and achieve well-being and prosperity for its citizens. The delegation members cited, for example, the Preferential Trade Agreement that entered into force in 2011, the Group’s Center for Advanced Studies in Agriculture and Food Security in Faisalabad, Pakistan, and the D-8 Group Health and Social Protection programme. The Group also seeks to benefit from its communication with the World Tourism Forum Institute, in an effort to build capacities and promote the tourism industry. This is in addition to establishing a joint plant for agricultural fertilizers and a “seed bank” to diversify agricultural crops, as well as developing means of communication through pipelines and cyberspace. The D-8 is also working on closer communication with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) to discuss ways to promote the digital economy and electronic governance, as well as cooperation with the World Customs Organization on crime related to electronic commerce, and ways to combat it. This is in addition to forming the “D-8 Network of Pioneers for Research and Innovation” initiative, to be a meeting platform for researchers from universities and governmental and semi-governmental research institutes, in order to encourage innovation and develop industries, in parallel with providing financial grants to private and public institutions to conduct feasibility studies through the “Project Support Fund” initiative.
The D-8 also seeks to enhance the independence of the Group’s payment systems, through the development of a comprehensive and integrated financial system, which includes, for example, the establishment of qualifying economic and industrial zones, independent clearing houses, and the issuance of a special payment card that will enable the countries of the Group to conclude their commercial transactions using their national currencies, as it is necessary to exploit the promising economic opportunities represented by the Group, as it will constitute the third largest global economic power by 2050, with a potential gross domestic product of $ 38 trillion.
ECFA members also appreciated the efforts of the General Secretariat of the Group, and the achievements that were reviewed, pointing to the importance of moving forward in finding joint action areas among member states, without addressing political issues that may spoil this direction, hoping that this will lead to achieving a kind of convergence on the political level.