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Nairobi chosen as host city for East Africa’s Islamic Economic Summit 2017

Nairobi chosen as host city for East Africa’s Islamic Economic Summit 2017

The Islamic Economy has seen a tremendous increase in recent years transcending its traditional geographic boundaries and its entrance into East Africa could giva a major boost to the region’s finance & banking sector, tourism, the hotel sector and fast moving consumer goods.

To explore how East Africa can tap into the Islamic Economy, with an estimated global value of $2.3 trillion, Kenya will host the 2nd edition of the East Africa Islamic Economy Summit (EAIES 2017) on the 10th and 11th April of 2017.

This is another platform endorsed by East Africa’s private and public sector leadership and the meeting has seen speakers drawn from governments, international experts on Islamic Finance and Economy, banking sector leaders, regulatory authorities and more.

The summit comes at a time when East Africa’s traditional investor and FDI sources are faced with changing political dynamics, uncertain global markets and divergent monetary policies, hence making it the right moment for the region to diversify its investor portfolio.

Discussion points will focus on Islamic Finance & Banking looking at its development within the East Africa. Also on the agenda will be East Africa’s Halal Economy – a lucrative but invisible market – Opportunities for EAC;Takaful & Retakaful sector opportunities for East Africa.

‘East Africa, like the rest of Africa, faces a severe infrastructure deficit, with governments’ budgets under pressure due to low commodity prices and changing geo politics from the region’s traditional development and investment partners in Europe and America, Sharia compliant bonds or Sukuk must be an alternative to finance East Africa’s projects but their issuance are hindered by technical and legal hurdles, limited knowledge by end users and policy makers, making this summit an important platform to hear from experts in Islamic Finance instruments’ said Agnes Gitau – GBS Africa when speaking about the conference.

Halal Economy; Lessons for East Africa from South Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa regional spend on halal food was about $114bn in 2013 based on Thomson Reuters data. Emphasis has been mainly on halal meats and meat products, but over the past few years, the trend has been shifting to the introduction of halal franchises, prepared meals, canned, frozen and instant foods.

A great example for East Africa is South Africa which, inspite of its small Muslim community, has emerged as one of the five largest producers of halal products worldwide largely due to its access to the rest of the continent and the presence of highly advanced halal certification programs (60% of all products in SA’s retailers are certified halal) worth approximately ZAR 1billion ($71.7m), according to MATRADE (Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation).

East Africa member states must explore opportunities to grow its Halal Food sector, given its growing Muslim population and its shared cultural values where Halal food is not only consumed by the Muslim community but most people in the region.

Another sector the summit will cover in detail is Halal Tourism and how the region’s struggling tourism sector can get a bigger slice of one of the fastest growing areas of global tourism estimated at $219 billion. Tourism stakeholders will discuss what infrastructure our region requires to tap into this market and what special attention stakeholders and service providers must pay to meet Halal Tourism requirements.

The summit organizers – GBS Africa in partnership with Anjarwalla & Khanna and IsFin – Emerging Markets Advisors said they are delighted to bring this forum to East Africa for the second year running. The meeting will take place at Nairobi’s Crowne Plaza Hotel on Upper Hill, easy to reach for delegates arriving at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

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