Enhancing the Halal Global Ecosystem

KUALA LUMPUR: Halal Development Corp (HDC) expects 6,000 participants for its 12th World Halal Conference (WHC) this year, as interested parties will be able to attend the conference both physically and virtually.

HDC chief executive officer Hairol Ariffein Sahari said the conference would be held for the first time in a hybrid manner.

WHC has been recognised as the platform to enhance international networking and business relations amongst the stakeholders in the halal community.

Hairol said unlike its other conferences such as the Malaysia International Halal Showcase (MIHAS) which focused on bringing together businesses to explore business-to-business (B2B) opportunities, WHC is a platform where HDC is seeking government-to-government (G2G) cooperation.

“WHC is not an expo like MIHAS. What we are looking at is more to G2G collaboration and we know we have the value proposition to offer to the world.

“In the past, we had signed a memorandum of cooperation between the Malaysian government and countries like Japan and Korea.

“We know that other countries are also looking to collaborate with Malaysia in order to strengthen the global halal ecosystem as the global halal industry presents a huge opportunity with the market now valued at US$3.1 trillion, with supply only able to meet demand by 10-20 per cent, currently.

“The size of the pie is too big to be shared by everyone,” he told the New Straits Times in an interview here recently.

Hairol Ariffein Sahari.

Hairol Ariffein Sahari.

In March 2019, HDC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) with the strategic aim of enhancing halal bilateral trade and investment exchanges, as well as market access for halal products and services, between both countries.

In February this year, it sealed a pact with Acrosx Japan Inc to develop and establish a framework for strategic cooperation.

The collaboration will include advisory, capacity-building and technical assistance to create a vibrant and sustainable business landscape for the Muslim-friendly consumer segment in Japan.

He said HDC was working in cooperation with the Taiwanese and Chinese governments as well as few countries in the western region of Africa including Senegal and Guinea.

He said the company had also received a strong interest from Mexico to cooperate in halal ecosystem development.

“They do not want to miss the opportunities as there is still a big gap where demand exceeds supply.

“Basically, I would love for every country in the world to play a part in this huge market. There is no competition to begin with because it is so big and personally, I think it is big enough for everybody.

“So the issue here now is how can we assist our halal community to take advantage of this and in the end make Malaysia as a global halal hub,” he said.

Hosted by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), the WHC will be held today at Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre (MITEC) Kuala Lumpur.

Hairol said this year’s theme, “Halal Community Driving the New World Economy”, is a unique one, as the industry is adapting to a new normal following the challenges faced amid Covid-19 pandemic.

He said the Muslim population worldwide translates into a rising international demand for halal products and services.

Halal is accepted as a truly global industry and this ever-increasing globalisation represents a vibrant opportunity for the global economy.

“Nevertheless, it also presents several challenges, to do with global attitudes and rapid technological change; hence bringing about important responsibilities concerning ethical governance and its harmonised regulation worldwide.

With the current technology revolution, global integration became sudden and borderless, he added.

This is where by fostering a robust halal economy, these potentials can be explored.

“WHC 2020 is the Thought Leadership platform to take realisation forward in demonstrating that the halal economy has a vital role to assume its potential within the wider global economic returns,” he said.

Hairol said the conference will provide the opportunity for many business leaders and halal stakeholders to raise their value propositions within the halal ecosystem.

“It has also succeeded in addressing key takeaways from resolutions which contributed towards direction and moving forward of halal industry.

“We are certain that a programme of this nature can assist in transforming the economic and socio-economic well-being of any nation,” he added.

The event will feature Ambassadors Session: Empowering Halal Community, Captains of Industry Panel: Responsible Consumption and Production, Driving the Growth of the Halal Economy through Islamic Finance, Halal Champion Success Stories and World Halal Night & Excellence Awards.

Some of the renowned speakers and panellists expected at the WHC 2020 are Andrew John Lech Goledzinowski AM, High Commissioner of Australia to Malaysia, Russian ambassador to Malaysia Naiyl M Latypov, Japan ambassador to Malaysia Horoshi Oka, Food Diversity Inc co-founder Shinya Yokoyama, Kawan Food Bhd managing director Timothy Tan and CIMB Islamic chief executive officer Ahmad Shahriman Mohd Shariff.