Cape Town has welcomed delegates from across the world as it hosts its first international halal export conference.
The inaugural ‘Halal Products and Services Inward Buying Mission’ aims to showcase the region’s offering and infrastructure to delegates, facilitate new business streams and build long-term partnerships.
Confirmed buyers at the two day event included representatives from UAE, Singapore, Middle East, Malaysia, Europe and the UK representing multinational firms.
The event is part of an ambitious strategy by Wesgro, Cape Town and the Western Cape’s official Tourism, Trade and Investment promotion agency to enable the Western Cape Province to become one of the leading global exporters in the trillion dollar Halal products and services market.
This includes initiatives to double the region’s exports by 2025 which will bring an estimated US$58 million to the economy.
UK-based CM Media, who has co-organised the event with Wesgro, said the conference is part of a longer-term plan by Cape Town and the Western Cape to host the biggest Halal expo in Africa in October 2018.
Bilal Domah, Director of CM Media, said: “The conference will shape the halal exports agenda from this region to across the world.
“The level of insight and experts that will be gathered at this conference is an indication of just exactly how important halal exports have become to the economy of this regions.
“This aim of this conference is to showcase the huge possibilities that are available from this region to the international delegates and how they can take advantage.”
The two-day event will also feature seminars from industry experts, workshops, networking sessions, an exhibition and a tour of Cape Town.
Confirmed attendees for the conference include Nisham Mohideen, sales director from UAE-based Al Islaami Foods, Shaik Abdul Malek Bin Shaik Abdul Rahman Mattar, CEO, co-chairman and co-founder of MyOutlets Express PT from Singapore and Osama Moustafa Abdel Aziz, CEO of Sara International Foods from the UK.
UAE is currently the biggest country of export for Halal products and services from Cape Town and the Western Cape.
Wesgro plans to target Indonesia, India, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Cameroon, Senegal, Nigeria, China, UK and the Netherlands over the space of the next two years.
It has identified a number of key sectors to promote including meats, dairy, fresh fruit, juices and non-alcoholic drinks, confectionery, sauces, seasoning, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, Halal tourism and Halal education.
According to the latest figures, the Western Cape experienced an annual average export growth of 17.84% over the last five years – worth $9 billion. Halal exports – which include meat, dairy, fresh fruit, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals – currently contribute less than one per cent of that total.
In July, Wesgro’s Research department published its first halal market research paper, which provides insights into the halal industry, ranging from ‘background and definitions”, to ‘starting a halal food and beverage business and getting certified’.