Kenya seeks to tap into the Sh360 trillion (US$3.6 trillion) global Halal industry and position itself as the hub of the growing sector in the region.
Speaking during the two-day Halal Expo in Nairobi, Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala said Kenya should not be left behind from Halal industry that produces goods and services that target more than 1.6 billion Muslims and others across the globe
The industry includes food processing, pharmaceuticals, financial services, clothing, tourism, cosmetics among others that are in line with Islamic principles.
“We seek to position Kenya as the hub of halal industry in the region by producing more halal-certified goods and services to serve a growing local and global market,” he said during the expo at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC).
Balala cited Australia and New Zealand, which are making trillions of shillings every year exporting halal-certified meat to Middle-East.
He added that non-Muslim-majority countries like India, United Kingdom, Spain, Japan, Croatia are in stiff competition to have the biggest share of the lucrative global Halal tourism sector.
Balala said that Kenya is also seeking a piece of the Halal tourism market, the fastest growing niche market in the global tourism sector projected to reach Sh23 trillion (US$230 billion) by 2030.
“Halal tourism offers the industry access to a young, increasingly moneyed, travel-hungry and globalised demography. We need services and facilities that meet the needs of this group,” he said.
Balala said hotels and the larger tourism sector in the country requires sensitisation about the needs of the Halal travellers including food processing and family-friendly environments so as to benefit from the sector.
On his part, Islamic finance Specialist Sheikh Badru Jafar said appropriate regulations and standards should be developed and implemented to stimulate the growth of the halal industry in Kenya for the local and export market.
“But the Halal industry is not just about products nor services but also universal ethical values such as honesty and integrity that should be nurtured to accompany trade,” he said.
Eugene Jurnigan an analyst from Green Action for Trade and Sustainable Development said the Halal industry is an untapped market that offers significant opportunities for investors locally and globally.
“Statistics show that 80 per cent of the global halal industry is controlled by non-Muslims who have seen the opportunities in the sector. Kenyans need to benefit from the huge halal market,” he said.
He said the Kenya Halal Certification Bureau, which has been operating in the country for the last 10 years, has played a key role in enhancing the local halal industry and urged its capacity to be boosted.
The two-day Halal expo, the first in the country, showcased products, services and information about the fast growing but untapped halal industry. The event, attracted thousands of visitors.
It featured close to 200 exhibitors from the banking and insurance sector, food industry, real estate, medical providers, education sector, transportation, hospitality and tourism, ICT and security. A plenary session featured panel discussions on the halal industry.
It was organised by Maahad Daa’wa Organisation, a local charity foundation and public relations firm Kijani Communications.