By TBY | UAE | Jul 07, 2015
With Dubai's ambition to become the capital of the Islamic economy, collaboration between the public and private sector plays a pivotal role in the certification of halal products and creating an environment conducive to the growth of the industry.
In January 2013, HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum announced his vision for Dubai to become the capital of the Islamic economy. The global value of the halal food market is a tremendous growth opportunity going forward, with the consumer spend in 2012 totaling $1.09 trillion, to be followed by an estimated $1.63 trillion in 2018 and $10 trillion in 2030. In recognition of this opportunity, the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre has outlined the development of the halal industry as one of the key pillars in its overall strategy. With this pillar identified, both government authorities as well as industry players have mobilized in order to standardize the halal certification process on both a domestic and an international level, creating facilities to attract halal industry investors and establishing an awareness campaign to integrate the label with the private sector. In a report published in 2013 by Thompson Reuters, one of the primary challenges to the development of the halal industry is a lack of standardization. In recognition of this, Dubai is in the midst of creating a halal certification stamp at both the domestic and international level. On a domestic level, Dubai Municipality and the Emirates Standardization and Metrology Authority (ESMA) announced at the 10th World Islamic Economic Forum that they will be working together to set up the Halal National Mark. Within this objective, Dubai Municipality will play the pivotal role in setting sharia compliance requirements and regulating the halal industry, while ESMA will grant the mark indicating that the product, service, and production system was in conformity with the approved requirements. On an international level, Dubai Municipality plans to launch a new international center for halal certification with the objective to be the first international reference in the food industry worldwide. Upon its establishment, the International Centre for Halal Products is aiming to take 10% of the global certification market within three years. The master plan for the center will consist of two phases, with the first phase concerning certification of meat products and the second on non-food items. With both the international and domestic certifications in place, the next step is to integrate the certification with industry players. Dubai Industrial City (DIC), a member of TECOM Investments and a key player as the industrial Free Zone in Dubai, has announced an initiative to facilitate investment in the halal industry as well as to promote the use of the halal certification program. In February 2014, DIC announced the launch of a halal cluster in collaboration with the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre, ESMA, and Dubai Municipality. Covering an area of 6.7 million sqft, the halal cluster is expected to attract at least 15 companies, particularly from the GCC and MENA. The cluster will have a fully separated industrial block, warehouses, showrooms, and accommodation. With this, DIC aims to attract and create an environment conducive to investment in the halal industry. Along side the launch of the halal cluster, DIC also announced a strategic partnership with ESMA in March 2015 aimed at promoting the national halal mark within the UAE as well as the exchange of knowledge and expertise. The agreement sets out a framework for the preparation and implementation of an awareness campaign for the national brand of halal that will enable better communication with business partners in DIC. Under the terms of the agreement, ESMA will also gain access to all factories and business partners located in DIC that are interested in the halal label.
The halal industry represents a tremendous opportunity for growth on both a domestic and international level for Dubai. Through its development of both a domestic and international certification program, Dubai is addressing one of the fundamental challenges to capitalizing on the industry’s growth. With certification in place, Dubai Industrial City aims to also create an attractive environment for industry players through both facilities and education.