Five new countries have joined the Development Centre in 2008. Early this year Poland, Egypt, Israel and Vietnam took seats officially at the Centre’s Governing Board joined most recently by Colombia (July 2008). This represents a significant extension of the Development Centre’s membership in Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Latin America.
Egypt’s Ambassador to France qualified his country’s entry to the Development Centre as a « significant step for an Arab country and an African country. » he added that he expected Egypt’s presence on the Centre’s Governing Board to lead to a two-way learning process.
Deputy Director of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Head of its Centre for International Co-operation-MASHAV, Haim Divon, remarked that his country’s joining the OECD’s Development Centre coincided with the 50th anniversary of his Centre. It was a “significant moment for Israel”, he said, and he hoped that Israel would “contribute as much to the Centre as it will get out of it.”
For Viet Nam, Director General of the Economic Affairs Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Tran Tuan Anh hailed the entry of his country onto the Centre’s Governing Board as “An important step for an Asian developing country” and looked forward to Viet Nam’s “learning a great deal about the OECD and how it works.”
In the 2009/2010 work programme, the Centre’s staff and projects will be linked to Africa and the Middle East, Latin America and Asia. The new members will, thus, find themselves well placed to participate in the discussions and analyses stemming from the programme. Moreover, in line with the Centre’s traditional mode of operation, they will be invited to contribute their ideas and eventually temporary staff in the course of the two-year programme.
The development Centre of the OECD is thus exploiting to the full its potential for bringing in new economic actors to within the orbit of the OECD family. Though it should be stressed that membership of the Centre does not suggest or imply membership in the Organisation itself, it is nonetheless an indication of the importance the OECD attaches to those countries invited to join the Centre.