Minister for Economic Development and Tourism Alan Winde File photo: African News Agency (ANA) Archives

The aim to establish the Western Cape as a major exporter of halaal goods gained further impetus on Tuesday at the launch of the inaugural Halaal Week.

Minister of Economic Development in the Western Cape Alan Winde says they have identified the halaal market as an unique opportunity to grow the provincial economy. 

Winde said his department has established that there's a potential of a 6 percent share in a market valued at a trillion American dollars globally. Latest statistics show that the province has lost about 65 thousand jobs, Winde said, mainly as a result of the drought. 

"There's potential here for thousands of jobs, if we just look at the African continent, we know that there's about 750 billion US dollars worth of products that is purchased in the halaal market, but only 36 billion dollar is actually certified. 

"That says to me straight away there's a massive opportunity just from looking at those numbers, let alone what the growth is, and that's just in Africa."

The province last year pursued 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.

Last 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 were expected to create 82 jobs.

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 Wesgro.