Wesgro, Cape Town and the Western Cape’s official Tourism, Trade and Investment promotion agency, has developed an ambitious strategy 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 $58 million to the economy with Malaysia a key target destination due to its large Muslim population.
As part of this, Wesgro will host the first ever small scale conference in Cape Town on halal exports for local and international buyers on October 25th, 2017.
The ‘Halal Products and Services Inward Buying Mission’, which will be held at the end of this month, aims to showcase the region’s offering and infrastructure to delegates, facilitate new business streams and build long-term partnerships.
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.
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.
Tim Harris, CEO of Wesgro, noted that “the international Halal industry is an important trade opportunity for Western Cape companies. To this end, Wesgro has intensified its trade efforts within this sector and is achieving remarkable results. From the export promotion inception programme in 2016, the total trade value secured from the international market has been estimated at R320million.
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’.
“We have more workshops and inward/outward missions to key halal markets lined up over the next financial year, and in 2018 will host the first African Halal Expo in Cape Town.”
Bilal Domah, from UK-based CM Media, who has co-organised the event with Wesgro, said the conference was a springboard to a longer-term initiative targeting destinations such as Malaysia.
He said: “The Western Cape already has an excellent infrastructure alongside some of the best products and services for the Muslim market which are a perfect fit for Malaysia which is why it is a key market for us.”
The ‘Halal Products and Services Inward Buying Mission’ event takes place on October 25 at the Westin Hotel.