Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Friday sought enhanced trade and economic partnerships with D-8 member states, as he represented Pakistan at the ninth D-8 summit being held in Istanbul from October 19 to 21.
“Connectivity-led growth is a good example of South-South cooperation. We seek similar partnerships with D-8 member states – through road and rail routes, where possible, but also through stronger air and sea connections,” PM Abbasi said while addressing the opening session of the summit.
Pakistan, which remained the Chairman of this organisation of eight developing nations since 2012, also handed over the Chair to Turkey at the Summit’s opening session.
The 9th D-8 summit, with the theme ‘Expanding Opportunities through Cooperation’, was attended by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, Azerbaijani leader Ilham Aliyev, Iran’s first vice president Eshaq Jahangiri and the vice president of Indonesia Jusuf Kalla.
Prime Minister Abbasi said as Pakistan celebrated 70 years of its independence, it was confronted with many challenges over the last decade. “We faced unrelenting terrorism emanating from instability in our neighbourhood and the environment in the region and beyond.”
He, however, stressed that as a result of a comprehensive strategy and unwavering resolve, Pakistan had successfully turned the tide.
“Improved security has led to economic recovery. Pakistan’s economy has recorded a significant revival in the past four years. Over this time, we have focused on upgrading our communications and energy infrastructure, and enhancing regional connectivity,” he added.
The Prime Minister said the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor would further put the economy on an upward trajectory of robust growth. “We are also working on energy connectivity projects. Pakistan’s integration into the Eurasian Belt and Road network will provide a firm foundation for Pakistan’s rapid economic development.”
He noted that the summit’s theme was in complete harmony with the post-2017 development agenda, visualising sustainable development as one of the core elements of people-centric development.
“Indeed, shared and joint prosperity is the only form of secure and sustainable prosperity. Inclusion based on collaboration ensures that there are no losers in the development effort – all are winners.”
The Prime Minister said Pakistan assumed the Chair of D-8 Organisation for Economic Cooperation in November 2012 at the eighth summit in Islamabad, which adopted two landmark documents: the D-8 Charter and the Global Vision. These documents have provided the essential basis for our joint endeavours, he added.
Another significant milestone achieved during this period was the Observer Status for D-8 at the United Nations, he said, adding that this status enabled the organisation to closely interact with various UN agencies and affiliated institutions for cooperative arrangements in priority areas for Pakistan.
PM Abbasi said that 20 years ago, a shared vision motivated the leaders of the member states to establish this organisation to promote cooperation in the key areas of agriculture, industry, SMEs, trade, transportation, energy and tourism. “However, the progress achieved so far falls short of our expectations, necessitating measures to accelerate momentum for stronger partnership,” he added.
The premier pointed towards the stagnation of intra D-8 trade, after an initial increase, adding that the apprehension is that the target of US $500 billion in 2018, envisaged in the 2008 Kuala Lumpur Summit Roadmap, might remain elusive.
“While it is imperative for the governments of member countries to facilitate trade and investment by adopting the necessary legal framework for investment protection and creating an enabling environment for business in their respective countries, it is the private sector that can make the best use of emerging opportunities for trade and joint ventures. It is, therefore, of utmost importance that we also actively promote entrepreneurship in our countries,” he said.
PM Abbasi handed over to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Chair of the D-8 Organisation for Economic Cooperation.
“Mr. President, I congratulate you on assuming the Chair of the D-8 Summit. I am confident that your wisdom, sagacity, dynamism and firm commitment will bring new vigour to the D-8 Organisation for Economic Cooperation,” he said.
The Prime Minster also said he and his delegation were deeply touched by the warm welcome and hospitality they received ever since their arrival.
Turkish President Erdogan also addressed the opening session of the Summit and spoke on various challenges faced by the Muslim world in general and the member states in particular, in different spheres of life including economic development. Geo News