Vice- President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has urged the D-8 countries to remain a potent force for peace, justice and the observance of fundamental freedom, at all times, to enhance trade relations.
He gave the advice when he declared open the sixth D-8 Ministerial Meeting on Industrial Cooperation on Tuesday in Abuja.
The D-8, also known as Developing-8, consists of Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey.
Mr. Osinbajo said peace and justice were necessary in the D-8 countries, especially with the social upheavals, conflicts and tensions flaring up everywhere.
He told the ministers that though there is presently economic challenge in the world, there are also enormous opportunities.
“The fall in commodity prices has led us to deepen diversification of our economies and challenge industries to greater productivity and cost-effectiveness.
“Most of our nations are achieving great milestones in the use of renewable energy while our young people, in spite difficulties, are competing with their peers in commercial use of innovation and technology,’’ he said.
He also said it was time to leverage on the clear vision of the founders of the organisation for economic cooperation by advancing the positions of developing countries in the world economy.
Mr. Osinbajo said the organisation must begin to make concrete plans for partnerships for areas it had marked for cooperation.
He said it could do this by using its strengths and comparative advantages to advance the good of one and all of its nations.
The areas of collaboration are; finance, banking, rural development, science and technology, humanitarian development, agriculture, energy, environment and health.
He reiterated Nigeria’s commitment to enlarge the opportunities for trade and investments amongst the D-8 countries and its readiness to continue to support the work of the organisation in the areas of collaboration.
The D-8 Secretary-General, Seyed Mousavi, in an address said trade was the backbone of the D-8 member states’ cooperation, adding that it needed to be improved substantially.
He said though the value of the D-8 inter-trade increased from 50 billion dollars in 1997 to around 100 billion dollars in 2015, the revenue remained below the target of the D-8 set at 500 billion dollars.
Mr. Mousavi said there was room for improvement to achieve the target set by the founding leaders, stressing that participation of member countries was very important to realise the objective.
He said networking among Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the D-8 organisation was also very vital to enable them have access to knowledge and expertise.
The D-8 was established in 1997 to primarily promote industrial and other economic activities in the global economy using the same platform to fast-track the position of member countries’ activities.
The 3-day meeting is scheduled to end on Thursday.