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D-8: Nigeria, Turkey, Others Call for Youth Empowerment, Participation in Innovative Technology

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•Turkey hands over term presidency of D8 to Bangladesh

•Turkey will share its ‘best practices’ in field of tourism with D8 members, says Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu

Mukaila Ola and Jeyhun Aliyev

Nigeria and other countries of D-8 Organization for Economic Cooperation, has called for youth empowerment and their active participation in innovative technology.

The nation’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, speaking on Wednesday at the 19th Council of Ministers Meeting of the D-8 virtually held, said: “Youth empowerment and their active participation in innovative technology are essential for attaining much-needed development.”

He said given the fast pace of development in the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR), the need for the organisation (D-8) to invest more in and equip its young generation for the future has become imperative.

Addressing the other Ministers of Foreign Affairs of D-8, an organisation for Economic Cooperation, also known as Developing-8, established for development co-operation among eight developing countries of Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Turkey, Onyeama said: “We must create the space to put the youth in the driving seat of innovation and creativity. We must leverage on the existing platform of the D-8 Network of Pioneers for Research and Innovation (NPRI) to train and develop our young digital entrepreneurs. We must also prioritize improving access to vocational training and providing greater incentives for our young people.”

He noted that the theme of the meeting: “Partnership for a Transformative World: Harnessing the Power of Youth and Technology,” was in tandem with their Decennial Roadmap for development, and if fully implemented, will go a long way in assisting member States to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

He said today’s meeting offers an opportunity for taking stock of progress made since the last meeting in Antalya, Turkey, in 2018, and tow the path for a better future for the organisation.

He said: “I am particularly delighted that this Council, during its last meeting in 2018, prioritized the importance of healthcare and social well-being of our citizens, among other things, which led to the establishment of the Health and Social Protection Programme Office in Abuja, Nigeria. We are grateful and honoured that you found Nigeria worthy of hosting this very important office.”

He said: “This initiative has undoubtedly created a platform for member states to respond swiftly to the current health emergencies by sharing best practices among member states. In this connection, I wish to urge member states to support the Office and its programmes to enable it to adequately respond to the health and social welfare of our people.”

Onyeama said for the organisation to truly become a major actor in the global economic system, “there is a need for us to support and lift one another to the upper rungs of economic development. Nigeria believes that for us to develop together, technology and best practices must be genuinely shared between and among our member countries. We should fully utilize the D-8 Technology Transfer and Exchange Network (TTEN) platform to promote sustainable development.”

He added that: “In our pursuit of more robust multilateral engagements for mutual development, trade plays a pivotal role. However, to improve our citizens’ welfare and create new opportunities in the bloc, we must bolster productive capacity that will attract investment and enhance commercial cooperation. We must also endeavour to remove trade barriers and implement existing agreements on trade facilitation.

“The importance of agricultural production and food security as vehicles for our national stability is central to our poverty eradication drive. We therefore, need to do more in promoting food security and reducing poverty through sustainable agricultural development. The organisation must leverage on agro-allied opportunities through the transfer of technology and modern equipment. Nigeria urges that all impediments associated with the acquisition and transfer of agricultural implements to member states should be removed for ease of trade facilitation.”

Onyeama seek support for Ambassador Isiaka Abdulqadir Imam, Nigeria’s nominee for the post of the Secretary-General of the organisation to replace Ambassador Dato’ Ku Jaafar Ku Shaari, whose tenure expires in December, this year.

In a related development, Turkey’s foreign minister on Wednesday handed over the term presidency of the Developing 8 (D8) Council of Foreign Ministers to Bangladesh.

“Wishing them every success. Will continue our efforts to put into practice great economic potential of @D8org. Will share our best practices in the field of tourism with D-8 members,” Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Twitter.

Speaking at the virtual summit of the D8 Council of Foreign Ministers hosted by Dhaka, Cavusoglu stressed the importance of multilateralism and cooperation during difficult pandemic times.

“As Turkey, we emphasized the importance of solidarity and cooperation in fighting COVID-19 from the very beginning,” he said, adding that Turkey has helped 157 countries and 12 international organizations during this time, as well as supported debt derogation initiatives for poor countries in the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and Group of 20.

He said technology and youth are the two major transformative forces of the new era, adding that it is necessary to benefit from young people, who are the source of dynamism, innovation, and creative ideas, and to keep up with advanced technologies.

Cavusoglu noted that member countries should not only be the users but also the manufacturers of these technologies.

Noting that the D8 Preferential Trade Agreement constitutes the basis of trade and economic cooperation within the bloc, Cavusoglu invited all members to put this agreement into effect.

He went on to say that facilitating trade is another important step toward boosting relations among the D8 countries, adding that Turkey is ready to host the meeting.

The minister highlighted that one of the most affected sectors by pandemic was tourism.

Turkey, he said, started a safe tourism concept and reopened its resorts to tourism in line with the guidelines of the UN World Tourism Organization, adding that his country is ready to share the practices with other member states.

The D8 comprises Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Turkey.

Credits | AA

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