PM Imran calls upon D8 countries to invest in youth to tackle common challengesArchive
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday called upon member countries of the Developing Eight (D8) grouping to invest in their young populations to tackle their common challenges.
He was addressing the 10th virtual summit of the D-8 Organisation for Economic Cooperation, a group that aims to facilitate cooperation in the field of development and counts Bangladesh, Iran, Turkey, Malaysia, Egypt, Indonesia, Nigeria and Pakistan among its members.
The theme of the summit, hosted by Bangladesh, was "Partnership for a Transformative World: Harnessing Power of Youth and Technology".
"The Covid-19 pandemic has caused the death of over 2.9 million people, more than 250m people have become unemployed, trillions of dollars were lost as a result of global economic contraction and the virus has taken a heavy toll on poor countries and the poor in all the countries," the prime minister said in his remarks, adding that inequalities had been accentuated not only within countries but also between rich and poor countries.
Developing countries, he said, were faced with the dual dilemma of saving their people from the virus as well as hunger. Today, the world "boasts" a large number of young people who are unemployed, uneducated and unskilled for the demands of the 21st century, he added.
"Our youth has not only the potential to optimise our opportunities but also overcome our common challenges. They are entrepreneurs, business innovators, technology pioneers, educators, activists, artists and journalists.
"We must create new opportunities for this predominant component of our population. Harnessing technology, promoting innovation, [and] investing in youth education, skills and training is, therefore, an urgent imperative," the premier emphasised.
Imran said his government was tackling this investment in the youth through initiatives such as the Kamyab Jawan and Hunarmand Pakistan programmes, Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme and Digital Pakistan.
"The pace of change has intensified in recent times, information and technology breakthroughs are fast transforming science-fiction of yesterday into today's reality," the prime minister said, noting that contemporary global challenges in a changing world were akin to moving targets — no single country could address these complexities in isolation.
"Partnerships are essential. I'm happy that in D8 we have a platform to work together for mutual benefit and win-win solutions," he remarked.
Prime Minister Imran said the D8 members should pay special attention to the following three areas in order to cope with the demands of a rapidly transforming world.
Elaborating on the points, the premier said that technological changes were bringing transportation and communication costs down, while automation was replacing labour. D8 countries should keep up with changing logistics and supply chains while protecting their labour-intensive economies from unemployment and social disruption, he added.
"We must push back against vaccine nationalism and undue export restrictions. The global vaccine manufacturing companies must either speed up production or share their technology and expertise with developing countries for adequate vaccine supply."