Makkah forum marks Saudi Arabia’s pivotal role in global halal industry expansion  

Special Makkah forum marks Saudi Arabia’s pivotal role in global halal industry expansion  
The forum witnessed the signing of six deals. AN
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Updated 25 January 2024

Makkah forum marks Saudi Arabia’s pivotal role in global halal industry expansion  

Makkah forum marks Saudi Arabia’s pivotal role in global halal industry expansion  

MAKKAH: The global halal industry is poised for rapid expansion, with Saudi Arabia expected to play a vital role in developing Shariah-compliant products, said a senior minister. 

Speaking at the inaugural edition of the Makkah Halal Forum, the Kingdom’s Minister of Commerce Majid bin Abdullah Al-Qasabi noted the significance of witnessing both local and international participation alongside the signing of six agreements on the sidelines of the event. 

Held at the Makkah Chamber of Exhibitions and Events Center, the three-day forum included panel discussions that took place the day before. 

Al-Qasabi said: “The halal industry stands as one of the most rapidly expanding sectors globally. Presently, the food market is valued at approximately $2.5 trillion, and is expected to reach $5.8 trillion in 2033.”  

The global halal product industry is poised for an unprecedented transformation, as highlighted by Abdullah Saleh Kamel, president of the Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Development, during the same event. 

He noted that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has elevated the status of halal products to a focal point of global interest through the establishment of Halal Products Development Co. by the Public Investment Fund. 

“This is the first instance where we learn of a sovereign wealth fund establishing a specialized firm for the development of halal products. In fact, we take pride that this company is a strategic partner for the forum," said Kamel. 

The initiative aims to advance the global halal industry and develop a vital and flexible system for halal products in Saudi Arabia. 

Fawaz bin Talal Al-Harbi, chairman of HPDC, underscored the rising global interest in halal products and services, with anticipated consumer spending reaching $5 trillion in the coming years. 

He added that research indicates the Kingdom is among the leading importers of halal industries and products. 

“Furthermore, Saudi Arabia is also the largest exporting nation of halal products to non-Muslim countries, generating great opportunities in the halal industry in the Kingdom,” said Al-Harbi, providing an example of the establishment of HPDC.  

Al-Harbi emphasized that the forum aims to empower the promising halal sector by engaging the private sector, regulators, and legislative authorities to leverage the numerous opportunities in this field.  

The objective is to unlock promising horizons for young people, foster the exchange of views, share expertise and experiences, and introduce the latest practices for the sector's development. 

Amid varying reports on the global scale of the halal market, Yousuf Khalawi, secretary-general of the Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Development, indicated that the market for halal food and beverages is estimated to range between $2.2 to $2.8 trillion, experiencing an average growth rate of around 15 percent. 

In an interview with Arab News, Khalawi expressed his belief that the statistics released by consulting firms are not accurate.   

Yousuf Khalawi, secretary-general of the Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Development.

“I can give you just an example (to illustrate) why. The whole production of Saudi Arabia is considered halal, but it is not classified as Islam-compliant food simply because most of Saudi products are not stamped with ‘Halal’ or have certifications showing they are halal,” he explained.  

He added that everyone knows that all Saudi products are halal, saying: “Major Muslim countries’ productions, like Saudi Arabia, Turkiye, Indonesia, Malaysia, are halal, even if it is (not) printed on the product.” 

Halal certification  

The secretary-general emphasized the significance of halal products carrying a certified tag, a designation that would be granted based on specific criteria to ensure Shariah compliance. 

“If you want to get anything certified, this means you need standards. So, till now most Muslim countries do not have an official standardization. So, anyone can create a halal certificate and give it to any production company,” he told Arab News.   

With well-established countries like Saudi Arabia, he added, products lacking Shariah-compliant certification are not allowed.  

“This will upgrade the standard of standardization around the world. So, we are very happy with countries that have detailed specifications for halal such as the UAE, Turkiye, Malaysia, Comoros and more. This will improve the whole halal (industry) and will make it a professional industry,” Khalawi said. 

He strongly believes that as more countries prioritize this issue, the halal industry will continue to improve as “huge developments (are) still needed in the halal (world) to be a professional industry.” 

Six deals signed  

The forum witnessed the signing of six deals aimed at enhancing collaboration among the involved parties, marking the inauguration of a new phase for the halal industry and laying the foundation for future accomplishments in this sector. 

The agreements comprised a memorandum of understanding between the HPDC. and Sinad Holding Co. Another MoU was inked between HPDC and the Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Development. 

A third agreement between Manafae and the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry was signed, and the fourth deal was between Manafae and the Federation of Saudi Chambers.  

Additionally, an agreement was reached between the Islamic Chamber Halal Services Co. and the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.  

The sixth MOU was signed between the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Environment of Comoros and the Holding Co. of the Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Development. 

Kamel of the Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Development underscored the profound spiritual significance of Makkah for Muslims worldwide. Additionally, he highlighted the city’s role as the forum venue, emphasizing its purpose for the collective well-being of the Muslim community. 

Kamel, who also serves as the chairman of the board of directors of the Makkah Chamber of Commerce, pointed out that the forum is one of the activities stemming from the Manafea Agreement.  

The tripartite agreement between the Chamber of Commerce of Makkah, the Chamber of Commerce of Madinah, and the Islamic Chamber of Commerce, Industry, and Agriculture is designed to transform the two cities into hubs for business events and an investment center, ultimately benefiting Muslims globally. 

Global businesses urged to acknowledge role in human development

Global businesses urged to acknowledge role in human development
Updated 12 June 2024

Global businesses urged to acknowledge role in human development

Global businesses urged to acknowledge role in human development

RIYADH: Businesses worldwide must acknowledge their role in shaping human development, paralleling the responsibility of governments, said a top Saudi official.

During a panel discussion titled “Board of Changemakers: Invest in Dignity” at the Future Investment Initiative Priority Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to the US Princess Reema bint Bandar emphasized the absence of a sense of collective impact on a global scale.

This observation coincides with ongoing geopolitical tensions such as the conflict in Gaza and the Russia-Ukraine tensions.

“If the business world fails to recognize its responsibility in shaping human development, akin to the responsibility of governments, we are all lost,” Princess Reema stated.

She stressed the importance of broadening the understanding of the beneficiaries of business activities, underscoring that social impact is as crucial as financial return.

“And I think we forget that we need to broaden our understanding of who is impacted by the work that we do, who is impacted by our gain, who is impacted by our profit,” she added.

Princess Reema highlighted that social stability and growth are prerequisites for sustainable business success.

“If we’re talking about investing in dignity, we have to invest in stability, we have to invest in growth, we have to invest an opportunity,” the Saudi envoy noted.

In another panel titled “Will Ascending Economic Powers Reshape the Future of Investment?” Saudi Tourism Minister Ahmed Al-Khateeb discussed the Kingdom’s shift from an oil-centric focus to diversifying into sectors like tourism and mining, as outlined in Vision 2030.

Al-Khateeb outlined three essential pillars for this transformation: a clear vision for the future, leadership and commitment, and a long-term perspective.

“First, it requires a very clear vision for the future, and we have an amazing leader, the crown prince, who established this vision and second it requires a leadership and willingness and we are all, you know, fully committed to make this happen,” the minister said.

“And the third pillar is a long-term view, we must have a long-term view about the future. We must not just look at the short term rather than look at the long term.”

The summit, themed “Invest in Dignity,” aims to explore how investments in renewable energy, artificial intelligence, entrepreneurship, and social impact can prioritize human dignity in policymaking. Discussions also focus on safeguarding the dignity of all citizens as a fundamental goal for economic decision-makers.

Saudi EXIM forges key international partnerships during Greek visit

Saudi EXIM forges key international partnerships during Greek visit
Updated 12 June 2024

Saudi EXIM forges key international partnerships during Greek visit

Saudi EXIM forges key international partnerships during Greek visit

 RIYADH: Saudi EXIM Bank and its Swedish counterpart have signed an agreement to enhance the Kingdom’s non-oil exports and explore trade and investment opportunities. 

In an X post following the deal, the Saudi lender stated that the memorandum of understanding with the Swedish Export Credit Agency was inked in the Greek capital, Athens.

The agreement, signed by Saad Al-Khalb, CEO of Saudi EXIM, and Anna-Karin Jatko, director general of EKN, aims to enhance cooperation between the two sides, improving access and expanding the Kingdom’s non-oil exports into the Swedish markets. 

Al-Khalb was in Athens to participate in the TXF Global 2024 event held from June 11 to 12. The event brought together executive leaders, policymakers, and experts in the field of export credit from various countries worldwide. 

During a panel discussion, the CEO emphasized that Saudi EXIM has extended $12 billion in credit facilities encompassing both lending and insurance. He outlined the organization’s ambition to achieve an annual facility exceeding $20 billion by 2030. 

Al-Khalb underscored that the bank has issued the largest insurance policy in the Middle East, valued at $2 billion, covering 450 financial institutions.  

Additionally, he highlighted the bank’s contributions to Saudi Arabia’s sustainability and renewable energy initiatives, both domestically and internationally.   

During the tour, Al-Khalb also met with Raja Al-Mazrouei, CEO of Etihad Credit Insurance of the UAE. The discussions revolved around identifying areas of collaboration to boost bilateral and regional trade, promote mutual commercial projects, and improve the efficiency of transactions with global markets, according to official statements. 

Additionally, he met with John Hopkins, the CEO of Export Finance Australia. Their discussions centered on exploring opportunities for collaboration to enhance economic ties and trade between their respective countries. They also explored ways to facilitate the entry of Saudi non-oil exports into the Australian markets. 

Additionally, the Saudi CEO engaged in discussions with Andre Gazal, the Global Head of Financing at Credit Agricole Bank of France. They reviewed the progress of projects stemming from the memorandum of understanding signed between their organizations in 2023. 

Furthermore, they explored potential avenues for collaboration to facilitate Saudi exports in the targeted markets across the African continent.   


Additionally, Al-Khalb convened with Richard Hodder, the managing director and global head of export agency finance at Citibank. Their discussions focused on identifying optimal methods to strengthen mutual cooperation and offer the requisite credit solutions to bolster the expansion of Saudi non-oil exports in targeted markets.  

They also delved into collaboration opportunities in financing priority projects and industries. 

With a vision to empower the Saudi non-oil economy in global markets, the bank is also on a mission to facilitate the Kingdom’s exports’ access to global markets by bridging financing gaps and mitigating export risks. 

Additionally, Al-Khalb met with Tone Lunde Bakker, CEO of Export Finance Norway, to discuss opportunities for collaborative efforts aimed at bolstering trade relations, fostering investment opportunities between their respective countries, and facilitating the entry of Saudi non-oil exports into the Norwegian markets. 

Closing Bell: Saudi main index continues it downward movement

Closing Bell: Saudi main index continues it downward movement
Updated 12 June 2024

Closing Bell: Saudi main index continues it downward movement

Closing Bell: Saudi main index continues it downward movement

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index continued its downward trend for the third consecutive day as it shed 123.66 points to close at 11,651.81 on Wednesday.

The total trading turnover of the benchmark index was SR10.38 billion ($2.77 billion) with 38 stocks advancing and 195 declining. 

Saudi Arabia’s parallel market Nomu also shed 198.71 points to close at 26,649.44.

The MSCI Tadawul Index slipped by 1.12 percent on to 1,456.40.

The best-performing stock of the day was Saudi Manpower Solutions Co. The firm’s share price soared by 20.67 percent to SR9.05. 

Other top performers included Miahona Co. and Retal Urban Development Co., whose share prices surged by 9.96 percent and 7.11 percent respectively. 

The worst performer of the day was Al-Baha Investment and Development Co. as its share price edged down by 7.14 percent to SR0.13. 

Rawasi Albina Investment Co. emerged as the best performer on Nomu with its share price increasing by 9.25 percent to SR5.79. 

The share price of Pan Gulf Marketing Co. and Tam Development Co. also surged by 7.78 percent and 7 respectively. 

On the announcements front, Jahez International Company for Information System Technology disclosed that it purchased a real estate property at a value of SR150 million in Riyadh’s Al-Mohammadiyah district in Riyadh. 

In a Tadawul statement, the company noted that the transaction will be financed from banking facilities at a value of SR105 million, while the remaining payment will be paid through the company’s own resources. 

Meanwhile, TAM Development Co. announced that shareholders approved the board of directors’ recommendation to distribute a 12.3 percent cash dividend, or SR1.23 per share for the last financial year. 

Saudi Arabia keen to invest in multiple sectors in Brazil: PIF governor 

Saudi Arabia keen to invest in multiple sectors in Brazil: PIF governor 
Updated 12 June 2024

Saudi Arabia keen to invest in multiple sectors in Brazil: PIF governor 

Saudi Arabia keen to invest in multiple sectors in Brazil: PIF governor 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund is keen to invest in Brazil across multiple sectors such as technology, renewables, and mining, said a top official. 

Speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the Future Investment Initiative Priority Summit in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday, Yasir Al-Rumayyan, governor of the Public Investment Fund, said that the Kingdom will also seek investment opportunities in football. 

“We started investing in Brazil in 2016 through one of our subsidiaries, SALIC, in food securities. We are interested in investing in technology, renewable energy, and mining, and hopefully in football too,” said Al-Rumayyan. 

He added: “About 70 percent population of Saudi Arabia is under the age of 35. So, some of the things that we are interested in are recreation, entertainment, and sports. And this is like the best place to discuss football.” 

PIF’s plans to increase its assets 

Al-Rumayyan also remarked that the wealth fund is planning to increase its assets by $2 trillion to $3 trillion by 2030. 

“PIF is an institute that was established in 1971. But in 2015, we started with a new strategy led by our chairman, the crown prince (of Saudi Arabia). About 80 percent of our investments are domestic investments which is about $800 billion. Our assets under management are (worth) about $1 trillion, and we are targeting to get to $2 to $3 trillion by 2030,” he said. 

During the talk, the PIF governor, who is also chairman of Saudi Aramco, said that the Kingdom is at the forefront of the world’s sustainable energy transition journey. 

He also added that the strategy of Saudi Arabia is to have 50 percent of the Kingdom’s energy needs met from renewable sources by 2030. 

“Saudi Arabia is one of the most advanced nations when it comes to sustainability and renewable energy. In NEOM, we have one of the largest green hydrogen projects, worth $8.4 billion. Saudi Arabia is making renewable energy one of the very cost-effective kinds of energy, and that is the way we can get more and more investments,” said Al-Rumayyan. 

He also noted that Saudi Arabia and Aramco are extending their commitment to nature by planting trees to ensure a green future. 

Al-Rumayyan also stressed the need to deploy more investments in the Global South to meet the renewable energy targets. 

Talking about the rise of artificial intelligence in the energy sector, Al-Rumayyan noted that the rise of advanced technology will consume more electricity and there is an urgent need to ramp up renewable production capacity to fuel these projects, alongside reducing emissions. 

“This is the beginning of the AI era. No one can really predict the use and requirements. Energy consumption with AI will really go off the roof. We are expecting an increase in power consumption by 3 to 6 percent on an annual basis due to the use of AI,” said Al-Rumayyan. 

He added: “We should look for solutions (as to) how to power AI revolution through renewable energy. And that is what we are working on. And, Brazil is well-positioned to be one of the major players. What you need is the right regulations and government backing, along with an investment mix.” 

Al-Rumayyan also noted that the upcoming FII Summit in Riyadh in October 2024 will be one of the biggest of its kind in the world. 

“The upcoming FII summit in Riyadh in October will be the largest investment conference in the world. We will have 300 to 500 speakers, along with 5,000 to 7,000 participants,” said the PIF governor. 

Brazil eyes partnership with Saudi Arabia

During his speech, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said that the country’s relationship with Saudi Arabia has always been strong, and will continue in the future.

“My visit to Riyadh, last November, and the recent visit of my vice president show that we are giving tremendous impetus to the collaboration between Saudi Arabia and Brazil. I see great potential in the relationship with Saudi Arabia. I wanted to be a role model of South-South relations which we all want to promote,” said the president. 

He also outlined that Brazil is turning out to be a favorite destination for investors due to its friendly regulatory reforms and stable economic conditions.

“The most important thing for an investor is stability, and this Brazil has plenty to offer. We also guarantee social stability, economic stability, and fiscal stability,” he noted. 

“We are not just the Brazil of soccer or Brazil of the violence. We are also the Brazil of the men and women who want to grow and develop,” added the president. 

For his part, Eduardo Paes, mayor of Rio de Janeiro, said that events like FII will promote and strengthen ties between Brazil and Saudi Arabia. 

“We seek new partnerships and opportunities with Saudi Arabia to grow. Rio de Janeiro is the ideal point of entry for Latin America,” said the mayor. 

Invest in Dignity

This edition of the FII Priority Summit is being held in Rio de Janeiro under the theme “Invest in Dignity.” 

Talking about the theme of the event, Richard Attias, CEO of FII Institute, said: “Dignity is not just a concept, it is a fundamental human right that should be accessible to every human being. Dignity is a foundation upon which we built an inclusive society where every person can live with respect, purpose, and opportunity.” 

He concluded: “Investing in dignity means creating a system that empowers people to foster equality and promote sustainable development. It means protecting human rights and fostering an environment where every word is heard and valued.” 

Saudi government’s proceeds from Aramco’s secondary offering could hit $12.3bn

Saudi government’s proceeds from Aramco’s secondary offering could hit $12.3bn
Updated 12 June 2024

Saudi government’s proceeds from Aramco’s secondary offering could hit $12.3bn

Saudi government’s proceeds from Aramco’s secondary offering could hit $12.3bn

RIYADH: The Saudi government’s proceeds from oil giant Aramco’s secondary offering of its shares hit SR42.10 billion ($11.2 billion) and are expected to rise further.

In a statement, Aramco said that if the additional allocation is exercised, the government’s proceeds will surge to reach SR46.1 billion. 

This falls in line with the company’s strategic vision to become the world’s leading integrated energy and chemicals company.    

It also aligns well with its aim to strengthen its global position by maintaining its oil processing, expanding its gas production capacity, and integrating its upstream and downstream operations to secure demand for its crude oil.    

Earlier in June, Aramco began the sale of more than $10 billion worth of shares, marking the company’s second listing after its initial public offering in December 2019 which raised $25.6 billion – the largest flotation in history.  

“The offering will be made to institutional investors in Saudi Arabia, institutional investors located outside Saudi Arabia who are qualified in accordance with the Rules for Foreign Investment in Securities to invest in listed securities and eligible retail investors in the Kingdom and other GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries,” stated Aramco in a press release at the time. 

It also added at the time: “Outside the Kingdom, the offering will be made in compliance with Regulation S under the US Securities Act of 1933.”