Efforts to improve on the growth of the halaal export sector in the province has recently received a boost from Trade and Investment KwaZulu-Natal.

The department has partnered with Albaraka Bank, The South African National Halaal Authority, National Independent Halaal Trust and Minara Chamber to launch the Halaal Initiative. The launch took place on 18 September, at Albaraka Bank.

The objective of this event is to grow the halaal export sector in the province by sourcing new markets, increasing the manufacturing base through foreign direct investment and developing African manufacturing companies in export and halaal compliance standards. The Department of Economic Development Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA) has set aside R5million, for the next three years to roll out programmes.

Edtea deputy director general, Sihle Mkhize, said: “Partnership with other provinces and national departments within government is also very important. South Africa is a unitary state. Transformation is key and should be prioritised by all stakeholders to ensure meaningful benefits to African businesses. Africa story – Halaal could be the catalyst to strengthen trade and investment opportunities in line with the African Free Trade Agreement. International linkages and collaboration are equally important for benchmarking and lessons to be learnt.”

The project will commence following the engagements of local and international stakeholders.

Chief Executive Officer of Albaraka Bank, Shabir Chohan, said this initiative will also go a long way towards job creation. As the hub will also become a catalytic project that has the potential to stimulate the export of halaal products not only from KZN, but also from neighbouring provinces. Chohan said: “We welcome the partnership and also commit to play a leading role in the implementation of this initiative. This kind of initiative will impact positively on foreign direct investment, it will also increase and accelerate local and foreign direct investment required.”

Lester Bouah, the executive manager for Export Development and Promotion Unit at Trade and Investment KZN said: “Halaal is diverse and is not only confined to food. It ranges from cosmetic and personal care, ingredients, lifestyle, Islamic financing and much more.  The halaal value chain is extensive and needs a proper development so that it yields real value. This sector alone accounts for approximately $114 billion within the food sector in the Southern Hemisphere.”

In 2020, the City of Durban will host the World Halaal Day with an aim to develop South Africa as in an integrated Halaal trade hub for the African continent and connect Muslim businesses from around the world.