Western Cape on its way to becoming a halaal export hub
The Western Cape’s plan to establish itself as a major exporter of halaal goods gained fresh impetus this month with a trade mission to Senegal.
The province is pursuing opportunities in West, East and North Africa, as well as in Asia and Middle Eastern countries, where the majority of the world’s Muslim population reside.
The fast-growing global halaal market is worth more than $2.3-trillion.
Earlier in June, Wesgro, the Western Cape’s trade and investment promotion agency, undertook a trade mission to Senegal.
Five of the 12 companies that joined the mission are halaal companies among others, which are producers in the agribusiness, manufacturing and engineering sectors.
Nine companies, signed export and investment deals in the halaal sector amounting to over R100m over five years. The agreements are expected to create 82 jobs.
Michael Gamwo, Wesgro’s head of Africa unit, told Business Day this week that the agency was aiming to establish the Western Cape as a major exporter of halaal goods, and hence the launch of a programme focusing on that particular market.
"We chose Senegal because it has a 90% Muslim population and it is a springboard to enter other countries in the subregion, such as Mali and Guinea," said Gamwo.
He said the halaal goods export strategy also focused on Nigeria, Cameroon, Asia and the Middle East.
"Nigeria has a very large Muslim population … Cameroon is also a hub for the central African region and is a springboard to accessing other countries in that region….
"Our ambition is to be one of the leading exporters of halaal products," said Gamwo.
In 2015, the provincial government announced that a total of R1bn would be set aside for a halaal food park, which could generate up to R5bn for the local economy each year.
Three sites, one near Cape Town International Airport, another in Stellenbosch and a third in Paarl, had been identified as potential locations for the park.
Western Cape economic opportunities MEC Alan Winde said a feasibility study was being finalised.
It was hoped that the park would present significant opportunities for private sector investment and encourage the establishment of a single, globally recognised halaal certifying body to be based at the park.
Winde said Wesgro had been tasked with developing and implementing a Western Cape halaal products export promotion plan, with the aim of promoting the province’s halaal products in key markets.
"We completed phase 1, the prefeasibility study, in December last year. This stage included the initial screening of 19 potential sites across the province.
"In the second phase, we are conducting an in-depth study into three short-listed sites, at Cape Town International Airport, Klapmuts and Lynedoch.
"As part of this process, we are developing investor prospectuses for each site, with a focus on all aspects including potential financial models, environmental impact, the site’s access to transport and potential incentives which government is able to offer to enhance the attractiveness of a potential build programme.
"To solicit investor response, we are also developing a fourth, general investor prospectus detailing overall opportunities in the Western Cape’s halaal industry.
"These prospectuses will be shared with potential investors through a dedicated drive. Through these prospectuses, developers and investors will then be able to assess the strategic value of undertaking the private development of a park."