Indonesia urges D-8 to boost inter-regional trade, vaccine production

Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has urged the Developing Eight Group (D-8) countries to help free the world of the COVID-19 pandemic and pursue global economic recovery by augmenting their vaccine production capacity.

Addressing the 10th D-8 Summit, held online on Thursday, President Jokowi highlighted the rising vaccine nationalism amidst efforts to promote equitable access to vaccines at affordable prices for all countries.

“This means that the world must be able to multiply the (vaccine) production capacity. There must not be restrictions on vaccine production and distribution. Here, D-8 countries can play a role by offering their production capacity,” he said.

The D-8 member states can ramp up vaccine production to promote equitable access to vaccines and push for transfer of technology, he told leaders of the D-8 grouping, which includes Iran, Egypt, Nigeria, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Turkey, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

“Some of us, including Indonesia, are in the process of developing vaccines on their own, and D-8 must be open to cooperate in developing and producing vaccines in the future,” President Jokowi said.

The Indonesian leader also urged D-8 member states to aid global economic recovery efforts, saying they hold an inter-regional trade potential of more than US$1.5 billion

“Inter-regional trade facilities within the scope of D-8 need to be pushed and trade barriers must be reduced. Strengthening inter-regional trade among D-8 member states is the key and will serve as the engine of economic development,” he said.

Digital technology, digitization, artificial intelligence, computing power, and big data are also sectors that need to be developed, he noted.

He said technology has given birth to various breakthroughs and D-8 should use technology for the benefit of the people’s welfare, considering that the sector reflects the picture of economy in the future.

The issue is in line with the theme of the 10th D-8 Summit — Partnership for Transformative World, Using the Power of Younger Generations and Technology — which highlights the need for younger generations of D-8 to benefit from the fourth Industrial Revolution and adapt to the changing information and communication technology landscape.

Indonesia has been a vocal proponent of equal and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. The country is among the co-chairs of the COVAX Advance Market Commitment Engagement Group (COVAX AMC EG).

Indonesian Vice Foreign Minister Mahendra Siregar had also pushed for vaccine multilateralism during the 17th Session of the D-8 Council of Ministers meeting, held on Wednesday (April 7, 2021). He had said that the D-8 must ensure that vaccines can be distributed fairly for all without any hindrance.

“In this regard, we need to support the COVAX platform as the only platform to ensure equal access and affordable prices of vaccines for all,” he stressed.

He also called on the D-8 to prioritize strengthening research and development, as well as the health and pharmaceutical industry and network, in the D-8 countries.


Source: Antara News

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