Durban: The 8th World Halal Day which took place in South Africa as a collaboration between United World Halal Development (UNWHD) and Trade and Investment KwaZulu-Natal (TIKZN), Government of KwaZulu-Natal was deemed a success by both parties.
The three day event was a major step forward in developing the halal sector in Durban, SA and Africa. The conference had guest speakers from across the world who shed light on all things halal and how the halal sector has contributed significantly to their country’s economy. There were speakers from India, Turkey, Indonesia, Malaysia, Russia, Mauritius, Singapore, Tatarstan, Pakistan, Sudan and Ghana.
Conversations and panel discussions focused on investing in the halal sector, leveraging halal trade through the Africa Continental free trade area, unpacking the halal export market and halal regulatory environment and infrastructure. There was also a huge focus placed on countries supporting each other and creating ways for each country to contribute to and support the halal sector, together.
A major part of this event was the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between TIKZN and Tatarstan Investment Development Agency (TIDA), based in Russia. This MOU will further enhance the country’s potential of international imports and exports between Russia and South Africa, within the halal sector. This will also give SA the support and confidence required to adopt halal trade structures already put into place in Russia.
CEO of TIKZN, Neville Matjie, expressed his excitement of the engagement between two countries under the halal banner and stated: “We are looking forward to the opportunities that this will bring into Durban and SA and we welcome the jobs that this will create.” He added that South Africans now understand the halal concept better and are more optimistic in being a part of the halal industry.
The engagement between the Republic of Tatarstan and South Africa was only made possible by United World Halal Development (UNWHD). A core value of UNWHD is to unite governments to expand on their halal sectors together and create a support system for each country. UNWHD is also responsible for bringing in speakers from other countries that can share their expertise on what may work in the South Africa halal market.
Another important MOU was between TIKZN and Shafeeq Shameel & Co. India, a leather company in India. This was done because leather is a huge economy in India and has created 4.42 million jobs with approximately 2705 leather establishments in the country. At a time where the impact of Covid_19 has negatively impacted many jobs in South Africa and across the world, the leather industry is seen as an opportunity for South Africa to tap into to create more job opportunities and contribute to the economy.
There was an exhibition that took place in conjunction with the conference. Exhibitors included fresh produce, health and beauty products, food, art, banking and clothing. These are potential businesses that could form as part of the halal sector in the KZN region. This event was an opportunity for exhibitors to have access to over 15,000 Halal industry professionals, showcase their offerings and introduce new products to the world market.
The launch of the first food bank, a UNWHD initiative, kicked off in Durban at the Soofie Darbar, in Al Pine Street. This forms part of a social responsibility project, that no one should go hungry. The food bank is said to provide food to 250 people daily. The KZN ambassador of this initiative, Madame Ela Gandhi, granddaughter of the late Mahatma Gandhi, is keen on extending this to the Phoenix Settlement and is currently working on how this can reach rural areas. The launch of the food bank is an effort to eradicate poverty.
Founding Chairman of UNWHD, Mohamed Jinna, welcomed the positive outcome of 2021 event that will bring South Africa one step closer to making their mark on the global halal scale. He was also pleased to know that this conference has unpacked the halal sector in depth and given South Africans hope that this will create more job and business opportunities for them.
This event will seek to place Durban as the economic hub for trade in the halal sector, a first in SA and Africa. KZN Premier, Sihle Zikalala said: “We need to develop Durban port as the halal hub. Together we will build and progress as a nation.”
The next World Halal Day is set to take place in Tatarstan in Russia between 19-21 May 2022. Official Key handover from TIKZN to Russia – Islamic World: Kazan Summit 2022 took placed in the event.