Once again, Malaysia’s Halal Industry Development Corporation (HDC), hosted the World Halal Conference (WHC) with this year’s theme ‘Halal at the Forefront of Economic and Social change’. The two-day conference was recently held in the capital of Kuala Lumpur at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC) from March 30 to 31.
This year WHC focused on various aspects of the Halal industry including the challenges facing the global Halal economy, the rise of Halal e-commerce and new business opportunities, and the need to develop talent. YAB Tun Abdullah Haji Ahmad Badawi, the patron of WHC gave his welcoming remarks in the beginning of the conference, followed by special addresses by attending leaders. The event also opened the World Halal Week (WHW), which was officiated by YB Dato’ Sri Mustapa Mohamed, the Minister of International Trade & Industry Malaysia (MITI). The global event is an integration between Malaysia International Halal Showcase (MIHAS), HDC, MITI, Malaysia External Trade and Development Corporation (MATRADE) and Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM).
The on-going WHW, which runs from March 28 to April 2, gathers key Halal players from the global Halal industry annually in Kuala Lumpur. By bringing the trade fair and conferences under one entity, Malaysia’s key Halal industry players seek to harmonise, coordinate and integrate the myriad efforts in the development and promotion of the global Halal industry.
More than 1000 Halal stakeholders and foreign delegates participated in the conference, and the event is expected to congregate more than 200,000 visitors from 70 nations since its first debut in 2004. One of the highlights of WHC is a main conference with a Ministerial Panel chaired by Mustapa, a Global Leaders Panel Session, several concurrent plenary sessions on specific components within the halal eco-system, e-commerce, youth and women’s empowerment and a Business Networking Galleria by collaborating partners of WHC. Some of the renowned speakers for the WHC 2016 include YB Dato’ Sri Abdul Wahid Omar, Minister in Prime Minister’s Department of Malaysia; H.E Mr. Dossaev Erbolat Askarbekovich, Minister of National Economy of Kazakhstan; YB Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar, Minister of Youth and Sports of Malaysia; H.E Mr. Motoo Hayasi, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan and H.E. Bpk Thomas Trikasih Lembong, Minister of Trade of Indonesia to name a few.
The world-class event, which is dubbed the largest gathering or Halal industry players and entrepreneurs looking to tap into the lucrative global halal market, currently valued at USD2.3 trillion, brought together exhibitors, trade visitors and buyers from all around the world. The WHC Galleria, strategically located at the Grand Ballroom of KLCC, provided a platform for participating exhibitors to showcase their Halal products and services to the conference’s vast congregation. The showroom also highlighted efforts and contributions of the Malaysian Government and HDC in developing the Global Halal Hub over the years. There were also live performances by Islamic artists from Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore to keep visitors entertained during WHW.
“The development of the Halal economy is led mostly by the sizeable and growing Muslim population as well as the increase in Muslim consumer purchasing power. The world’s Muslim population is expected to increase by 35 per cent in the next 20 years, rising from 1.8 billion to 2.2 billion by 2030,” – YB Dato’ Sri Mustapa Mohamed, the Minister of International Trade & Industry Malaysia (MITI)
Today, Malaysia stands as the biggest Halal exporter next to China with an increase of 4 per cent in its export value last year. Malaysia assumes a leading role in the development of the global Halal industry, and is intensifying its efforts even more in business trade and other commercial opportunities. Strategic collaborations and partnership between government agencies, consumers and producers remain the strategic initiatives in achieving sustainable Halal production. The economic growth within Muslim countries had led to an increase in disposable incomes, thus the need to ensure sustainability in the supply of Halal food and consumer products.
The conference also saw the strategic allegiance of HDC and various SME’s in an effort to uplift local Halal economy. One of which, was a Memorandum of Understanding between HDC and Nestle that sought the support of build local productive capacity, enhance social inclusion, and promote environmental sustainability. HDC also launched a halal e-commerce platform, aptly named HDCdirectory.com, a website which signifies the efforts of HDC to engage and promote various Halal activities on E-commerce.
WHW international delegates and guests were treated with an appreciation dinner hosted by HDC at Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Kuala Lumpur. The night was graced by the attendance of former prime minister Tun Abdullah and officiated by Mustapa. Highlight of the night was the presentation of Halal Excellence Award to individuals or organisations that have greatly contributed and achieved high standards in the halal industry. One of the recipients was home-grown burger business Ramly Group.