D-8, also known as Developing-8, is an arrangement for development cooperation among the following member countries: Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey. It also adds a new dimension to enrich the social and economic relations of its partners. Following the “Conference on Cooperation for Development”, on October 22, 1996, and after a series of preparatory meetings, the establishment of D-8 was announced officially by the Summit of Heads of State/Government in Istanbul, on June 15,1997 (Istanbul Declaration). The objectives of D-8 are to improve 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 better standards of living. D-8 is a global arrangement rather than a regional one, as the composition of founding members reflects. Membership will be open to other developing countries subscribing to the goals, objectives, and principles of the group, sharing common bonds. D-8 is a forum with no adverse impact on bilateral and multilateral commitments of the member countries, emanating from their membership to regional and international organisations. Principal organs
- The principal organs of D-8 are the Summit, the Council, and the Commission.
- The Summit, which is the supreme organ of D-8 is composed of the Heads of State/Government of member states. It is convened once every two years.
- The Council is composed of the Ministers in charge of Foreign Affairs of member states. It is the political decision making organ of D-8, and acts as a forum for thorough and comprehensive consideration of the issues.
- The Commission is the executive organ of D-8. It is composed of senior officials appointed by their respective governments. Each Commissioner is responsible for national coordination in his/her respective country.
- An Executive Director is appointed to ensure efficient communication, expedite the flow of information, and supervise the provision of services for the meetings.
Areas of cooperation At the outset, ten sectors have been identified for cooperation and project development. They are: Trade; Industry; Telecommunications and Information; Finance, Banking and Privatization; Rural Development; Science and Technology; Poverty Alleviation and Human Resources Development; Agriculture; Energy; Environment; and Health. On the basis of a division of labour for the coordination of D-8 activities, each sector is assigned to a member country. Although 50-60 projects were originally proposed at the First Summit, in order not to spread resources too thinly, the following six priority projects were selected to be launched immediately:
- Establishment of an International Marketing and Trading Company
- Workshop on Poverty Alleviation
- Establishment of an Industrial and Technological Data Bank Network among D-8
- Establishment of Takaful Schemes, including joint ventures between the companies of D-8
- Cooperation for the Development of Inland and Coastal Aquaculture
- Design, Development, Production, and Marketing of Agricultural Aircraft
D-8 member countries have relatively large populations. The total population of D-8 countries was around 800 million in 1997. This corresponds to some 13.5 percent of the world population. In four of the eight countries the population is well over one hundred million, in one country it is more than two hundred million. After relatively high annual growth rates recorded in previous decades, population growth is gradually coming down in all D-8 countries, similar to the phenomenon observed in the rest of the world. Due to rapid growth in the past, a large part of their population will continue to be young for the foreseeable future, constituting a factor of dynamism in D-8 societies. Moreover, an increasing number of these young people are being educated and trained in universities and research institutions in order to meet the requirements of high-tech industries for skilled labour. Growing economies, high technologies and resource base Starting from relatively modest income levels, D-8 economies have displayed respectable growth rates in the recent past. In all countries, governments have undertaken reforms to remove the bottlenecks to rapid growth, liberalize markets and integrate better with the world economy. Growth in incomes, coupled with the already large and increasing populations, will create rapidly growing markets in the coming years. In most of these countries, the private sector has become the driving force of the economy. As a result, large holdings have emerged in recent years. Some now rank amongst the first 500 largest companies of the world. Their partnership with well-known firms of the industrialised world in high-tech industries such as electronics, automotive, etc. has helped build a significant technological and industrial base in D-8 countries. In addition to sizeable human resources, D-8 countries also possess significant natural resources. Some of these resources are currently being exploited, but there remain large natural resources yet to be tapped.