Acting on President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's suggestion to use local currencies in trade between the Developing Eight Organization for Economic Cooperation (D-8) members, the organization has developed a D8P Card Payment system, according to Ambassador Dato' Ku Jaafar Ku Shaari, the secretary-general of the D-8. "With this card, all member countries will be able to use their local currencies in in-house commercial activities and all kinds of transactions," Shaari said. On June 15, 1997, the D-8 was launched after Turkish Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan proposed the creation of an economic group consisting of eight emerging economies from the Muslim world.
D-8 Secretary-General Shaari, who was in Istanbul within the scope of a signing ceremony of a protocol of corporate cooperation between Anadolu Agency (AA) and the D-8, said that when they founded the D-8, they prepared a special 20-year action plan. He noted that the member countries had worked together on six important issues as of 2018 and had held several ministerial meetings on commercial industry, agriculture, food safety, transportation, energy and tourism, which led to many successful projects.
Formed as an economic alliance, the body consists of Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey.
Two of its members, Turkey and Indonesia, are part of the G20, a group of the world's 20 biggest economies.
"There are some issues that we need to finish in the incomplete fields. We want to work on them and finalize them as soon as possible. We seriously aim for cooperation in the energy sector among the member countries in 2019. We have ongoing projects regarding the distribution and transmission of energy sources to member countries," he said.
Shaari further informed they have plans to work on civil aviation and maritime transport, pointing to tourism as one of the potential fields. "We will hopefully reap the fruits of the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) in 2019. We also want these preferential trade activities to continue with the customs agreement signed by the member countries," he continued. "As someone who took office as the secretary-general in 2018, we plan to expand last year's activities and initiatives in many fields in 2019 as well. I think we partially achieved it in 2018." Recalling that they established a union of chambers on Nov. 3, Shaari said this union founded its own general assembly, while the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) proposed many ideas and strategies in this regard. "This union decided to hold its first summit meeting in Malaysia. We call this union the 'Industrial Cooperation Agreement,'" he noted. "We decided to carry out some projects in this field with Turkish Technic, the aircraft repair, maintenance and overhaul arm of Turkish Airlines. Thus, other companies in the member countries will generate ideas in each area and take part in the technological projects in the regions."
The D-8 secretary-general also stated they have some ongoing projects with the member countries at the point of resolving the issue of impoverishment in the world, pointing out they will be in cooperation with the member countries regarding social aid. "I am pleased and hopeful in this regard because I was in Nigeria last year and the Nigerian government decided to lend support to our social project and provide us with a building where we can carry out our relevant projects," Shaari said.
"Besides, within the scope of the 2018 activities, we signed a memorandum of understanding on the D-8's selected airports with the intent of specifying some airports that we can use for the coming projects." Stressing they aim to bring together people and companies from different parts of the world, provide them with elbow room and advance in tourism and other issues, Shaari said they plan to establish an airport network in the world, and run and develop these projects through this network.
Shaari said the visa agreement signed among the D-8 members last year has yet to be enforced, adding that with the establishment of the aforementioned airport network, the said agreement will be put into effect and used actively. "We signed a memorandum of understanding on the selection of Sabiha Gökçen Airport in the airports project. With this airport, the citizens of D-8 members will be provided with fast track services," he said, adding a special VIP lounge will be established for the citizens of the member countries and all other projects and activities will be introduced here."
He further said that a Malaysian company started working on the D8P Card (payment card) system upon President Erdoğan's proposal, who suggested the establishment of a structure for the use of local currencies in trade, followed by the proposal of using a D8P Card manufactured by a Malaysian company, which will in turn enable all members to use local currencies in trade and all kinds of transactions. Amid worsening concerns over international trade and the international monetary system, which is dominated by a single currency, Erdoğan had on a number of occasions warned partner countries to resist global crises and pressures, pointing out that the importance of taking steps to remove the pressure of international exchange rates.
Shaari added that they finalized this project by bringing together the executives of the central banks of all member countries. "We signed a memorandum of understanding last year with an offshore bank from Malaysia to establish a D-8 creative economic and financial center in Kuala Lumpur. They are in search of an available building for this center where the technological infrastructure of several commercial activities in accordance with Islamic principles will be carried out," he said. "Thus, we will have taken a step toward sustainable economic and social development. I think these projects will dominate a majority of our studies in 2019, followed by the preparations on the infrastructure of our projects to be realized between 2020 and 2030."