Sharjah: The UAE’s growing role as a key Islamic economy industry player was once again reinforced at the just-concluded international halal event in Sharjah.The event also came at a time when UAE was placed among top countries in the ‘Global Islamic Economy Indicator’, a composite index that presents the current development health of Islamic economy sectors across 70 core countries, in the recently released ‘State of the Global Islamic Economy Report’.
The UAE was also ranked first in Islamic trading among members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in 2012, with trade valued at US$91.3 billion. The UAE accounted for 13.40% of the volume of trade between member countries, according to a recent OIC statement.
“The 3rd OIC Halal Middle East Exhibition & Congress, which was held at Expo Centre Sharjah from December 8 to 10, 2014, was seen as a global halal event taking place in a vibrant halal market that covers the entire Middle East and North African and the Indian Sub-Continent,” said Mr Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, CEO, Expo Centre Sharjah.
Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qassimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, the Halal Middle East and the concurrent 2nd Kitchen Equipment & Technology Exhibition Middle East attracted 3,297 visitors during their three-day run.
Visiting dignitaries were all praise for the event. “I have visited many halal trade shows in different parts of the world. The Halal Middle East is probably the most positive one at present,” said Ms. Sunapa Wuthikankoson, Third Secretary, Department of International Economic Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Thailand.
“Being a comprehensive halal event, Halal Middle East could generate and sustain tremendous industry interest. What makes the event significant is the fact that apart from a Muslim-majority regional populace, the participants are in the thick of an emerging halal hub of a fast-growing industry. The emergence of the UAE as a formidable halal player offers them priceless opportunities, apart from access to a high-potential regional market,” added Mr. Midfa.
For exhibitors, this meant instant access to new markets, supply & demand information and networking opportunities.
“I strongly believe that such events can turn into very useful instruments of growth for any company. We have been talking to global groups in our small stand and we have been sharing information with all market segments of the Gulf despite the reduced timeframe at our disposal,” said Mr. Lavdush Tormetaj, President & CEO, Arstl Group, Albania.
“We came across potential buyers from local market and received inquiries from East African markets,” said Mr. Om Swaroop, Director – Business Development, Chilly Willy Food & Beverage Industries L.L.C, Dubai.
The food and lifestyle segment formed the larger component of the show and most participants used the platform to better gauge the halal requirements of consumers who spent nearly US$2 trillion on food and lifestyle in 2013, which is expected to reach US$3.7 trillion by 2019.
“We could gain important information on growing trends in the halal sector, especially since there were participants from across the globe,” said Mr. Jagdish Menon, General Manager, Magenta.
“It was a huge success for us and we look forward to the next year,” said Mr. Josef Fellinger, Founder & CEO, N.A.B Fellinger AG – Austria.
More than 200 delegates attended the 3rd Halal Congress Middle East, which was addressed by leading halal certification experts, scholars, government officials, and some of the biggest names in the halal industry, making it the most important halal event of its kind in the region.
“In eight sessions, the Congress featured the most authoritative minds in the field of halal certification, trade and business, addressing issues and challenges facing the industry across the world and discussing threadbare ways and means to open up the trillion-dollar halal market to participants,” said Mr. Asad Sajjad, Secretary General & CEO of Pakistan’s Halal Development Council, the co-organizer of the Congress.