In order to minimise the worsening effects of Covid-19 pandemic on the world economy, Bangladesh stressed the need for exploring all avenues for economic recovery through collaboration among the D-8 member states.
Foreign Minister Dr A K Abdul Momen focused on such all-out efforts while addressing the D-8 19th Council of Ministers on Wednesday.
"It would obviously facilitate the D-8 governments and private sectors to come together to highlight how the D-8 member states can deepen connectivity, networking and collaboration in the light of experiences of the Covid-19 era," said the minister, who chaired the meeting.
Bangladesh believes in a free and equitable access to markets for not only products but also services, he added.
He also pledged that Bangladesh would take all pragmatic initiatives to open new avenues of cooperation among the D-8 member states for making this group even more 'vibrant, active and effective'.
After chairing the D-8 Organisation for Economic Cooperation for two years during 1999-2001, Bangladesh is going to hold the chairmanship of the D-8 for the second time after two decades.
"The theme of the 10th D-8 Summit is - 'Partnership for a Transformative World: Harnessing the Power of Youth and Technology', keeping in mind that the youth of the D-8 member states would be fully prepared to reap benefit from the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and would be equipped sufficiently to cope with the ever-changing world of information and communication technology (ICT)," the foreign minister told the meeting.
The D-8 countries have a combined population of 1.1 billion people, of which 207 million, nearly 19 per cent, are aged between 15-24 years. The member states need to tap the unbound potentials of this youth for turning the D-8 into a vibrant, dynamic, and lively alliance, he noted.
"The D-8 requires taking leadership in this particular area to ensure job creation while equipping them with the right skills. A D-8 incubation initiative might be a good option to consider (for this purpose). In this regard, Bangladesh strongly believes in enhancing knowledge-sharing and connectivity among the D-8 member states."
Briefing the D-8 members about Bangladesh's Covid-19 recovery drive, he said from the very beginning of this pandemic, the Government of Bangladesh gave equal importance to lives and livelihood.
"The government announced 31-point directives immediately after the pandemic breakout. We provided stimulus packages worth more than US$ 14.6 billion, equivalent to around 4.44 per cent of our GDP."
The foreign minister also recommended creating a D-8 digital marketplace as well as a suitable-for-all post-pandemic cooperation model to ensure common interests of all the member states.
Dr Momen thanked Mevlut Cavusoglu, Foreign Minister of the Republic of Turkey, for his successful tenure as the chair of the D-8 Council of Ministers, and appreciated him 'for the phenomenal contribution made to the D-8 under his stewardship'.
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