Panashe Chikonyora and Michael Tome
Zimbabwe stands to benefit from Malaysia’s huge import bill if it produces goods that are required by the vast Malaysian halal market, Malaysian Embassy First Secretary Ms Tan Tsiu Yinn Cindy said.
Halal means permissible in the Islamic Sharia law and covers everything from food to finance, logistics and tourism. In order for products to receive this certification, they must be from an acceptable source such as a cow or chicken and slaughtered according to these laws.
The global halal industry is estimated to be worth more than $2 trillion, including a $1 trillion food market which is expanding.
Malaysia spends approximately US$218 billion on a variety of imports.
Presenting at Zimbabwe-Malaysia Business Network workshop recently, Ms Tan Tsiu Yinn Cindy (Ms Tan Tsiu) explained on Malaysia being a strategic location, where English is widely spoken, with a high quality of life and which has political and economic stability as well as adequate infrastructure, as part of the reasons why Zimbabwe should export to Malaysia.
She encouraged Zimbabwe to tap into Halal product exports to Malaysia.
“Asia consists of 10 countries . . . As Asian countries we have our policies within that allow free movement of goods within the Asian region. So if you penetrate an Asian market and you see an opportunity it is very easy for you to penetrate another 9 countries,” she said.
“So as I mentioned 70 percent of our population are Moslems. Presence of the halal industry in Malaysia is very important as it contributes 7,7 percent to the country’s GDP.”
Meanwhile, during another presentation at the same event, ZimTrade chief executive officer Allan Majuru encouraged Zimbabwe to utilize its opportunity with Malaysia, saying exports are necessary for the country’s economic development.
Last year the country exported products worth US$4,1 billion against imports of US$6,4 billion, recording a trade deficit of US$2,3 billion, hence Mr Majuru called upon Zimbabwean industry and producers to tap into Malaysian market to maximize on exports.
He urged local business people who attended the workshop to “invest leveraging on diaspora”- a large network and to “produce quality goods at low cost” to improve the country’s competitiveness with other markets.
This year Malaysia moved 9 points to rank number 15 in the ease of doing business from number 24 last year.
It is the 26th in the world’s exporting countries with its major export products being Electrical and Electronic, petroleum and chemical among other products like palm oil, machinery and equipment.