At the start of its summit in Cairo, the leaders of the D-8, a group of eight developing Islamic nations, prepared Saturday, February 24, to address the challenges of globalization and the importance of building a strong private sector.
Leadership from the D-8 countries — Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey — gathered in Cairo to formally adopt the "Cairo declaration" on Sunday, which hails the vital and fundamental role of the private sector in realizing the goals of the D-8 countries.
The D-8 perceives itself as serving as a collective front for developing Islamic nations in working together to face the problems posed by globalization, said Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Mussa, who attended the proceedings for the countries' foreign ministers on Saturday.
Among the leaders scheduled to attend Sunday's meeting will be Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikha Hasina Wajed, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid, Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, Pakistani leader Pervez Musharraf and Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer.
Malaysia will be represented by its Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah bin Ahmad Badawi and by Iran's Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi who has already arrived in Cairo. Since the last D-8 summit was held in Dhaka in 1999, Bangladesh and its prime minister, Wajed, have had the task of organizing the gathering in Cairo.
The D-8's chamber of commerce will submit Sunday a recommendation to the D-8 heads of states for a uniform custom levy for D-8 members. D-8 members were also set to approve Saturday a proposal to simplify visa procedures for businessmen from the D-8 countries.
Mussa added that the countries wish to realize the "legitimate aspirations of development, without being blocked from participation in the formulation of the new world and the global economic leadership." "We want a formula guaranteeing equality and sharing equitably the benefits and the burden for the different members in the equation" of the global economy, Mussa said.
He added that whatever the progress made independently by each member, "our capacities would remain limited in the face of unrooted and stable forces, whether it be the developed economies or the forces of the international market". The D-8 leaders are also planning to approve the creation of an international company for trade and marketing based in Cairo, Mussa said.
The D-8 was created in 1997 at the initiative of Turkey. Turkey envisioned the grouping together of the eight Muslim countries with the collective weight of their economies and their diplomatic policies as a potentially strong force in the world.
The D-8 nations group 800 million people compared to the 15-nation European Union, which has now just under 400 million people, said Imtiaz Ahmed, counselor at the Bangladeshi embassy in Cairo. — (AFP, Cairo)
by Lamia Radi
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )