Hatice Karahan

Bangladesh, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Egypt, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey… The Developing Eight, also known as D-8, created by these emerging economies, are gathering at a summit in Istanbul today. The 20-year efforts to boost cooperation are aimed at strengthening the presence of these countries in the world’s economy. Indeed, 2016 data reveals that the D-8 currently accounts for only 5 percent of the global GDP.

Indonesia and Turkey constitute half of D-8 GDP

Moreover, Indonesia and Turkey, the two largest countries in the group, constitute almost half of this economic volume, with the former having $932 billion, and the latter having $858 billion in GDP.

While Nigeria and Iran have roughly $400 billion each, they are followed by Egypt with $336 billion, Malaysia with $296 billion, Pakistan with $284 billion and Bangladesh with $221 billion.

Additionally, although all the members are in a developing status, they actually have quite different economic profiles in both economic size and welfare.

Welfare gap” While Turkey has the highest income per capita, other countries in the group have less than $10,000 – which is roughly below the world average.

The most prosperous economy among the remaining seven is Malaysia with $9,500 income per capita. While Iran is barely at $5,000, Egypt and Indonesia are still around $3,500. Nigeria, Pakistan and Bangladesh are the economies with the lowest income per capita in the group.

As can be seen, there is a wide gap among D-8 members.

Young unemployment alarm” D-8 economies, which have to boost the income and life standards of their people, have different unemployment rates that they are struggling with.

While Malaysia, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Pakistan have relatively lower single-digit unemployment rates, other members have higher rates than Turkey, which is hovering at lower double-digit figures.

The alarming part is that young unemployment is quite disconnected from general unemployment in almost all countries.

While young unemployment rates hover between 20 percent and 30 percent in some members, they are over 30 percent in Egypt – a social problem which needs to be solved.

Even Malaysia, with an average 3.4 percent in unemployment, has double digits when it comes to its young population.

In this context, given the population dynamics of these economies, it is necessary for them to write strong stories of growth.

Strong growth: At this point, it would do well to take a look at the recent growth performance of all the members.

As it is known, Turkey slowed down as a result of the occurrences in 2016 and it has gained momentum again this year.

As it is, we are constantly talking about this in detail. In other D-8 economies, there are still discrepant situations.

For instance, Indonesia has been following a stable and robust course in this area for a long time.

It is not easy to achieve 5 percent in growth successively.

It is noteworthy that Bangladesh has unperturbedly increased its growth from 6 percent to 7 percent.

Likewise, Pakistan has been increasingly developing in this period, with an increased growth of 5.7 percent in 2016.

On the other hand, Malaysia has declined to 4 percent from 6 percent in the last few years.

Also, Egypt has a moderate performance going between 3 percent and 4 percent.

There are also two countries that have suffered oil losses like Nigeria and Iran in recent years.

While Iran considerably recovered in 2016 with the removal of sanctions, Nigeria, it seems, will recover slowly.

This organization, founded in 1997 with the Istanbul Declaration, needs investments, productivity growth, competitive environments and thus reforms in order to sustainably strengthen their economies.

In this context, while each country tries to design the most appropriate economic policies for itself, sincere and effective international collaborations undoubtedly have critical importance.