THE AFRICA HALAL ECONOMY INITIATIVE
The Africa Halal Economy Initiative, a special project of the Africa Islamic Economic Foundation (AFRIEF) is the largest Halal economy development initiative of its kind working to create a public-private partnership to develop capacities, enhance knowledge and build skills of policymakers, entrepreneurs and professionals in Africa. This Initiative works with its strategic partners towards the vision of developing a strong private sector foundation for a sustainable, market-driven ethical eco-system in Africa.
The Africa Halal Economy Initiative is a strategic response to Africa’s growing socio-economic challenges, such as perennial problems of poverty, persistent youth unemployment, excessive inequalities of income and wealth, high levels of inflation, large macroeconomic and budgetary imbalances, exorbitant debt-servicing burdens, inadequate and aging public utilities and infrastructure, and growing food insecurity, which have all combined to undermine current development efforts of African countries. With many losing faith in the efficacy of the conventional economic and financial systems, particularly after the recent global economic crisis, the potential role of Islamic Finance in providing a complementary or alternative framework for development efforts is being encouraged by the Initiative.
Halal economy offers a way to build economic value to all countries with rich human and natural resources. Global demand for Halal goods and services has grown fast, remaining strong throughout the last two decades. The emerging Halal economy has become a leading component of economic growth, employment, trade and innovation, and social cohesion in most advanced economies. Empirical evidence shows that the Halal economy sectors and industries are among the most dynamic emerging sectors in world trade. It also shows that the interface among ethics and culture, economics and technology has the potential to generate income, jobs and export earnings while at the same time contributing to social inclusion, cultural diversity and human development.
For Africa, the Initiative comes at an important juncture. It comes at a time the public finances of African countries have taken a hard hit from the Global economic climate, driving difficult spending decisions but also creating opportunities for Africa to reframe and reinvent, chart its own course and shape its own success.
Through the initiative, AFRIEF’s aim is to act as a knowledge broker, establishing new relationships between countries, leading to business opportunities, solidarity and improvement of regional integration and cooperation. The Initiative also contributes to AFRIEF’s objective to promoting empathy, understanding and collaboration between African communities and nations. Using a cross-sectoral and collaborative approach, and within the framework of national priorities the Initiative works internationally to:
- Build entrepreneurial and leadership capacity in the Halal economy sectors in target countries through the development of learning products covering the importance of Halal economy, Halal industries and entrepreneurship, strengthening of networks, and awareness raising tailored to policy makers and entrepreneurs.
- Support Halal service providers – from those providing technical assistance like business planning and concept testing, to those providing capital and beyond – that help Halal businesses grow and thrive, while connecting them to each other and the people they serve.
- Unlock pool of investment opportunities, create new and expand existing SMEs, and ultimately, build a more diverse economy where jobs and prosperity are available for all.
- Catalyse ideas exchange between business organizations, entrepreneurs, commercial investors, academia, leaders and policymakers.
- Develop an integrated food economy based on agricultural diversification, efficient agricultural production that takes advantage of innovative technologies and practices, tailored trade and investment approaches, well-functioning domestic markets and strategic conservation of food and water in Africa.
- To stimulate, educate and train a new generation of Halal professionals and entrepreneurs involved in Halal business.
- To enable good governance across the Halal corporate sectors, facilitating interactions and relations among producers, distributors, workers, retailers and consumers.
- To facilitate the access to and the dissemination of data, information, and knowledge on Halal economy.
- Develop and implement innovative national Halal Economy roadmaps, action plans and development strategies in Africa.