It appears the interest of the investment community in Africa has gone beyond just the corporate sector. Businesses that run in accordance with Islamic principles (halal) appear to be the next big thing attracting investors to the continent.
Arab and Asian investors this week participated in the first ever African Halal Business Forum in the Senegalese capital, Dakar.
The forum among others was intended to help halal operators in Africa establish links with their counterparts in the Arab world as well as in the Asia region.
As you know, the North African countries are predominantly Muslim. And in the ECOWAS region, two-thirds of the population of 300 million is made up of Muslims. So this is a very important potential market for Africa
French version of Halal Goes Global (Le Halal devient Mondial) released at the 1st Halal Forum in Africa in Dakar pic.twitter.com/snxf1kyzih— Sadiq (@SadiqKaziSyed) March 5, 2016
Senegal’s Prime Minister Mohammed Abdullah Dione said “the halal market offers new opportunities.”
The halal market he noted, has become a global market with growth potential that must meet the needs of about 1.6 billion Muslims in the world.
According to Morocco’s Foreign Trade Minister, Mohammed Abbou, “the Halal sector has become a market, first for Africa, and then the Asia pacific countries. As you know, the North African countries are predominantly Muslim. And in the ECOWAS region, two-thirds of the population of 300 million is made up of Muslims. So this is a very important potential market for Africa.”
Halal businesses provide a wide range of goods and services ranging from consumables (beverages, meat and fish products) fashion, cosmetics, craft, tourism to pharmaceuticals. The sector is estimated to have a windfall of up to $150 million.
The president of the association of halal businesses in Senegal, Khadiyatoulah Fall believes his country is well placed to support the sector.
“There is incredible potential for our country. We have land, we have water, we have the sun… So i think that everything is set for halal businesses to thrive in Senegal”.
Director of the Islamic Bank of Senegal, Lamine Mbacke is of the opinion that the potential 1.6 billion Muslims around the world should be enough comfort for investors contemplating making a move.
He said whereas West Africa is considered a paradise in terms of investment and financing, there is the need to “cross the barriers of rudimentary framework” to be able to attract investors.
Organisers have hailed the first African halal business forum as a success and are looking forward to more investors venturing into the sector.