It is difficult to invite papers on a precise list of topics: However, it would be equally difficult to organise a program of systematic discussion without some written papers. Submissions are therefore, invited from a number of perspectives. The list below is an indication of the sessions of the Forum and areas from which topics of papers, empirical or theoretical may be chosen. Well researched papers are invited from scholars on the following topics:

Inaugural Session: Africa in the New Global Reality

The inaugural session will feature short speeches by select dignitaries and a Special Panel on the theme: Africa in the New Global Reality. Heads of State and Governments, leaders from the corporate world, senior policy makers and heads of international institutions and academia representing major stakeholders of the African economic community will be invited to take part in this key session. Discussions will be centred around a strategic economic briefing on investment prospects, potential Halal sectors, industries and their locations in Africa. The leaders will have the opportunity to share their views and experiences as well as devise new proposals on how Africa can attract and benefit from local and international investment to increase its competitiveness as one of the most attractive FDI destinations in the world. They will share their views on Africa’s potential not only in terms of growth and opportunities but how they can contribute to stimulate growth via investment, talent, R&D, technology and infrastructure.

Halal Economy: A New Global Market and Economic Growth Paradigm

This session will feature key presentations and discussions with specific focus on:

  • Introduction to Halal Economy
  • The Global Halal Market Potential
  • Facts and Figures of the Global Halal Market
  • Sectors and Drivers of the Global Halal Economy
  • Investment Potentials
  • Integrity and standards


Regulation, certification and compliance are at the core of the Halal economy. This session discusses all the pertinent matters surrounding regulatory and certification issues.

  • The strategic importance of regulation, certification and compliance
  • The Role of the Shari’ah Advisory Board
  • Certification and Regulation Agencies
  • Research and Development
  • Challenges in Halal Certification
  • Developing a National Halal Certification Body
  • The Case for a Continental Certification Body

Issues, Trends and Challenges in the Development of Halal Economy

The Halal economy has become well-inserted into the international development agenda over the last two decades. It is widely recognised that Halal economy can foster income generation, job creation and export earnings, while also promoting social and financial inclusion as well as human development. This session looks at the issues, trends and challenges in the development of Halal economy with specific focus on Africa.

In this context, this session will feature presentations and discussions that would address the following questions:

  • What are the major global issues, trends and challenges in the development of the Halal economy?
  • What are the areas of common interest and mutual relevance in Halal economy for Africa and the International Community?
  • What opportunities exist for Governments, entrepreneurs and innovative companies in the Halal Economy?

Africa’s Halal Economy: The Role of Tertiary Institutions

This Session attempts to explore the major roles tertiary institutions can play in the Halal economy in identifying and growing talent and skills as well as providing a steady flow of workers into the Halal economy.

In this context, this session will feature presentations and discussions that address the following questions:

  • How can we work together to support a programme of incubation spaces for young entrepreneurs and to address skills and other gaps in the ladder of opportunity for talented Africans?
  • Is it possible for tertiary learning institutions to work closely with enterprise agencies, and governments to ensure that investment decisions reflect opportunities for economic growth, business expansion and job creation?
  • Is there significant scope for Halal industries and businesses, tertiary institutions and other partners to come together to identify practical ways in which the Halal economy sector can be developed on the foundations of growth to the benefit of African economies and society?
  • What can be done to develop the role of Higher learning Institutions as providers of rich resource of research and innovation for Africa’s Halal economy?

Developing Halal Agro-industrial Parks in Africa

This session will feature a special presentation on the feasibility of Halal Agro-industrial Parks (HAPs) in Africa, and would also deliberate upon the opportunities that exist in the Agro-Food Processing sector across the value chain, right from the farm, equipment players to the retail/food services segment, as well as commercial opportunities and collaborative efforts.

Implementing a National Halal Economy Development Program

  • Design and implementation of a national Halal economy development
    program – where and how to focus?
  • Does Halal represent a new market, or a new market paradigm?
    Who will lead, and who will follow?
  • Shariah compliance and Halal integrity – a balance of credibility,
    competence and consensus
  • Aligning the interests and responsibilities of the three main
    stakeholders: government, industry and Islamic bodies
  • Building national capacity – what are the options?
  • Halal and Corporate Social Responsibility – what are the wider
  • Balancing talk and action – timing and content in conveying your message.
  • New thinking, new models – where do we go from here?

Halal Economy – An Emerging Potential for Global Islamic Finance

This Session takes a critical look at the relationship between the Halal economy and the Islamic finance industry. Even though, they are natural economic partners, they are far from fulfilling their combined potential for a holistic Halal economy.

In this context, this session will feature presentations and discussions that address the following questions:

  • Can Islamic finance capitalise on the rapid growth of halal industries, such as food, clothing, finance and tourism, to ensure end-to-end Shari’ah compliance in halal operations in Africa?

  • What are the opportunities that exist in the provision of Islamic funding options for trade financing, working capital, raw materials, asset financing, as well as raising capital to fund Halal commercial industrial projects?

  • What opportunities exist for other non-banking solutions like Shari’ah-compliant crowd-funding, venture capital financing and private equity funding in Halal economy?

  • What can be done to enhance the nascent Africa’s Islamic capital market infrastructure and processes, as well as to strengthen the regulatory framework?

Global Halal Export Market Entry Strategies

The spread of Islam, particularly in Africa and Asia, owes much to trade and while the progress took hundreds of years, the effects are still felt till today. Trading has certainly evolved throughout the centuries, although these days, the free flowing nature of trade has become complex requiring strategic knowledge of the markets and international trade regulations. This session will discuss the entry strategies of countries and companies contemplating to enter the Global Halal export market.

  • Which markets to enter?

  • When and how to enter these markets?

  • What is the scale of entry?

  • Which is the best mode of entry?

  • How do we meet International Halal Standards and Certification requirements?

  • How do we establish and promote cross-border industry collaborations and partnerships within the Halal eco-system?

  • How do we leverage online media and technologies to reach Global Markets?

Faith-Based Economics and Social Responsibility: Islamic and Christian Perspectives.

This session will address the following salient questions:

  • Do investors sacrifice satisfactory economic returns by making ethically and socially responsible investing decisions based on their faith? What are the basic strategies which faith based investors and financial institutions can use to maximize financial return and attempt to maximize social good?

  • How can Islamic economics and finance overlap with or complement socially responsible investments? What are the best practices and synergies across faith communities in translating faith-based principles into commercial practice? What are the distinctive values and attitudes concerning commerce, debt, and interest that inform various faiths and can be translated across faith communities?

Developing the Potentials of Halal Tourism in Africa

Halal tourism, or Muslim-friendly travelling is a new product in the tourism industry market. The world Muslim population has been growing swiftly across the world, thus, there is a need to develop customized halal Tourism products and services to cater to this vigorous sector. According to the latest figures, the halal tourism sector was worth US $140 billion in 2013, representing around 13% of global travel expenditures. This figure is expected to reach $192 billion by 2020. This session will feature presentations that highlight the potentials of the Halal industry in Africa and the roles of governments, industry and other stakeholders in formulating industry-friendly strategies to promote its growth in Africa.

  • Introduction to Halal Tourism

  • Overview of the Global Halal Tourism Industry

  • Mapping the Potential sectors of Halal Tourism in Africa

  • Financing Halal Tourism Initiatives: Strategies for Halal Tourism Business

Policy Strategies for the Halal Economy: Innovative Approaches from the GCC, Asia and Europe

This Session will discuss policy strategies for developing and/or strengthening the Halal Economy in Africa. Increasingly, governments at all levels in Africa are formulating specific policies and strategic actions aimed at economic diversification and transformation, while also exploring possibilities for international co-operation and strategic alliances. In line with the multi-dimensional nature of Halal economy, such policies regularly embrace aspects of economic and social policy, while also including linkages to agro-food processing, Halal Parks, tourism, urban development (particularly the notion of the ‘Human Smart city’), education, training, cultural diversification and intellectual property rights.

Leveraging Islamic Finance for Small and Medium Enterprises in Africa.

Economic development and growth are significantly linked to the consistent and sustainable sector of small and medium enterprises (SMEs). However, lack of adequate funding has been a key challenge for SMEs in Africa at every stage of their evolution, especially during inceptions and development stages. Islamic finance has certain features which give it the potential to effectively support SME financing, economic growth and development. This session will discuss therefore, the importance of financial inclusion, the state of SME financing in Africa and how to leverage Islamic Finance for Africa’s SMEs.

Promoting Human Smart Cities Development in Africa

Rapid urbanization across the globe is completely transforming the landscape of our cities. The demand for urban infrastructure and services has increased many times while there is huge stress on the environment. In addition, our urban centres continue to grow at unprecedented rates, a global ‘mega trend’ that shows no signs of abating. In some parts of the world over 80% of the population now live, work and play in urban centres and as growth continues, our cities expand and new cities are born.

Islamic Finance appears to be a naturally synergetic fit to urban development investment. Islamic Finance is equity-driven, and equity investors prefer to have a real hands-on feel for their investments. Islamic Finance also values socially-conscious investing, and lenders can see up-close how their investments are faring, and the peace of mind of knowing their investment are going towards making their own communities better. Large amount of capital seeks to be invested in Islamic Finance compliant instruments, and governments are in need of large investments. Highlighting the natural synergy between these two demands is a priority which this session seeks to highlight.

The Role of the Halal Economy in Promoting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Africa

Launched in 2015 by leaders of 191 nations, the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are amongst the most ambitious projects humanity has ever attempted “to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all”. In emerging markets alone, the UN estimates USD3.9 trillion per year will be required to reach all 17 goals by 2030. At the current rate of investment, the UN has calculated a gap of USD2.5 trillion per year.

Even though the UN, governments, investors, corporations and financial institutions and Civil Society Organizations have committed themselves to achieving the SDGs within the next 10 years, there is no practical way to bridge the gap of $25 trillion. Capital is not flowing at the required speed to the countries where SDG investment matters most. Africa remains the most challenged continent. Yet, it is also one that is booming with innovation, initiatives and impact ventures. Nearly half of the financing required to achieve the SDGs needs to flow to Africa.

This topic discusses the vital role the Halal financial sector can play in mobilizing resources to promote the SDGs in African Countries both at the micro and macro levels.

Special Economic and Business Presentations and Briefings

This session allows various national and sub-national Governments and private sector entities as a whole to promote and highlight investment prospects, sectors and industries in specific locations, case studies and success stories.

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