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Halal Industry
Natural halal beauty products link sustainability and faith to deliver strong growth 

The global trend towards more natural and vegan ingredients is bringing multi-national brands closer to halal beauty brands.


Dubai, UAE and Selangor, Malaysia: The gap between halal and natural beauty is narrowing as halal beauty brands integrate natural and vegan ingredients into their products and global cosmetics companies use more inherently halal ingredients.

“In essence, the majority of halal ingredients are of non-meat origin, hence vegan products are, by default, usually halal,” Amna Abbas, consultant for beauty and fashion at market analysis company Euromonitor International, told Salaam Gateway.

Not every halal beauty product is vegan as some contain ingredients derived from permissible animals slaughtered according to Islamic law; are marine animals deemed halal or include beeswax and honey.

However, plant-derived ingredients are increasingly replacing animal-derived ones in the manufacture of halal cosmetics to remove doubt and gain acceptance among both Muslim and vegetarian consumers, according to research by Asian researchers published in the academic journal Cosmetics.

“Many times, halal products bearing the halal logo are (sold as featuring) cleanliness, quality, purity and safety,” Husain Indonesiawala, director and market research specialist at India-based Straits Research, told Salaam Gateway.

He said certified natural-halal beauty products often followed current good manufacturing practice (CGMP) certification standards that ensure cosmetics manufacturing process of high quality. They also followed hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) guidance to reduce hazards posed by biological and chemical elements that made cosmetics unsafe.

“Products used for halal beauty products are expected to be traceable and often incorporate a myriad of thickeners (such as carnauba wax), solvents (corn and avocado oil, sesame oil and polyethylene glycol), colourants, anti-ageing agents (phloretin) and skin whitening agents (vitamin B3) among others,” said Indonesiawala.

Since halal-certified beauty products cannot contain harmful substances under many halal certification systems (like those imposed by Malaysia’s National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency), they usually do not contain harsh ingredients such as sulfates and parabens.

Consequently, many halal cosmetics rely on natural ingredients, creating an overlap with products qualifying as halal without having the certification.

“Ethical and natural concepts are in line with halal principles as the term ‘halal’ includes products that are ethical … therefore, halal certification is primarily an ethical certification,” Mohamed Elkafrawy, CEO of Italy-based World Halal Authority (WHA), told Salaam Gateway.

He said around 45% of WHA-certified cosmetic companies have certified natural products.


Simbioze Amazônica's range of clay-based masks and essential oils are exported to the Middle East (Courtesy: Simbioze Amazônica).


Reaching a wider market

As Muslim consumers actively seek out more natural and ethically-sourced products that are also halal, companies are raising their game to match these demands. This is evident from the growing number of beauty brands offering both halal-certified and natural products.

These include US-brands Lyda Beauty, Alzo International and Amara Beauty, as well as L'Oréal (France), Unilever (UK/Dutch), Beiersdorf (Germany), Inglot (Poland), Inika Organic (Australia), SO.LEK and Breena Beauty (Malaysia), Iba Cosmetics (India), Wardah Cosmetics (Indonesia, and PHB Ethical Beauty (UK).

The Muslim spend on cosmetics increased 6.8% year-on-year in 2021 to $70 billion and is expected to reach $93 billion by 2025 translating into a 7.4% four-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR), according to DinarStandard’s State of the Global Islamic Economy Report 2022.


See - Infographic SGIE 2022: Halal cosmetics


The market for organic personal care and cosmetics products is also booming. Valued around $33.4 billion in 2020, it is expected to hit $58.6 billion by 2031, registering a 5.3% CAGR according to India-based research company Allied Market Research.

Joao Paulo Da Silva Elvas, head of international office at Brazilian cosmetics manufacturer Biozer da Amazônia, said halal certification was essential for brands looking to expand their market boundaries and reach the fast-growing global Muslim population.

His company secured halal certification from the Federation of Muslim Associations in Brazil (FAMBRAS Halal) for its Simbioze Amazônica range of clay-based masks and essential oils in 2019 to export its products to Middle East countries.

“Halal certification is important if you want to enter Arab markets. It legitimatises the process and materials used in the products that gives confidence to your potential clients and puts your product at a higher level,” he said.


Read - To acquire or not to acquire – the great cosmetics halal certification debate

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Read - Indian halal cosmetics brand Iba taps online shopping boom

Read - Indonesia’s $4 bn halal cosmetics industry poised for growth


Additional guarantees

Alongside halal certification, brands are adding other labels to guarantee their ingredients are from natural origin. Simbioze Amazônica obtained the COSMOS Natural seal for three of its essential oils and Biozer da Amazônia is securing this certification for other products.

Having both halal and natural labels has made it easier for the brand to market its products in the Middle East, US, Canada, Australia and Chile and will facilitate its planned expansion to Europe, said Da Silva Elvas.

Similarly, Spec-Chem Industry, a Chinese manufacturer of natural cosmetics ingredients supplying the US and European markets, has invested in multiple certifications including COSMOS; a halal certificate from the Asia Pacific Halal Council and vegan certification from the American Vegetarian Association.

Malaysia offers sound examples of how halal natural beauty products can be developed and successfully sold, as the country has a highly developed halal certification system. Brands such as Malaysian Millefleur use vegan-friendly formulas for its skin care lines; are affordable and environmentally conscious. Using a mix of natural oils and extracts, the brand appeals to the mass market and the devout.

Another Malaysian beauty brand satisfying halal and environmentally-aware consumers is Nurish Organiq, a brand offering a home-grown range of skincare products developed by an experienced team. The range infuses wholly natural extracts and organic ingredients, eschewing artificial colourings and mineral oils.

In neighbouring Singapore, Handmade Heroes has grown as the go-to natural halal beauty brand in the city-state, expanding its reach to Malaysia and across south-east Asia. Its lip scrubs are made from sugar and a mix of natural oils. Handmade Heroes also boosts sustainability by using minimalistic packaging.

Founder and managing director of Malaysia-based beauty product manufacturer Indochine Natural Sdn Bhd Mike Thair stressed the transparency delivered by following certification systems – for halal and natural lines – boosts consumer confidence and sales.

“Transparency is a big part of our brand messaging,” he said.

Ahmad agreed, saying halal consumers were increasingly aware of the possible presence of critical substances in products beyond food, but also cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. This meant they paid greater attention and made a more scrupulous and careful selection of the goods they consumed.

“All this translates into market opportunities for those who certify themselves and limitations for those who do not. From this perspective, it can be said natural products have a great potential in halal cosmetics,” she said.

© SalaamGateway.com 2022. All Rights Reserved

Islamic Lifestyle
Newswrap: Islamic lifestyle

IBF Net to launch Sharia-compliant metaverse; Modest fashion brand Leem enters UK market; Dallas Museum of Art opens exhibit “Cartier and Islamic Art”


IBF Net to launch 'world’s first' Sharia-compliant metaverse

Ireland-based Islamic Business and Finance Network (IBF Net), which has Islamic economy platforms for philanthropic, non-profit and for-profit transactions, is planning to expand into a metaverse, the company announced. The metaverse is a 3D virtual world in which users immerse themselves in digital environments. IBF Net’s Sharia-compliant metaverse will have two components, one for learning and the other a marketplace.

“The new initiative is the first-of-its-kind application of metaverse technology to create a marketplace that ensures far higher levels of consumer and investor protection and is also compliant with the faith and belief systems of over one-fourth of the global population,” according to the press release.

A grant from the US-based Algorand Foundation, which is behind the Algorand blockchain network, is enabling development of the metaverse. The project is to give “due consideration to the uniqueness of the Southeast Asian region in terms of its faith, culture, regulatory, and policy environment. If we define metaverse as a three-dimensional (3D) virtual environment that would enable people to interact with each other, create assets, play games, work and collaborate with each other, then the factors outlined above would have a critical role in defining its shape in a given society.” The press release added that as the meteverse will be Sharia-compliant, the guiding principles of Islam “will have a perceptible influence on behavioural dimensions in the metaverse.”

According to Mohammed Alim, CEO of IBF Net, “the project specifically has two clear disruptive goals: One, it aims to create an open and meta learning place for acquiring and sharing of knowledge anytime, anywhere; and two, it purports to create an open and meta market place for buying and selling with far higher levels of information and therefore, significantly higher consumer and investor protection. It will reconfigure and convert the present miniature Islamic economy developed by IBF Net, which is a centralized (closed) community-focused system to an open system with far superior features brought in by metaverse technology.”

Digital wealth is a further aim of the project, covering digital assets “from in-game items and virtual land to loan agreements or other complex contracts.” The platform”will steadily move towards creating in aggregate an Islamic DeFi ecosystem.”


Read - Islamic video game Muslim 3D launches

Read - In 2020 as more of life went online, we ask: What are the limits to Virtual Islam?

Read - Gould Studio launches futuristic online comic series ‘Tales of Khayaal’


Modest fashion brand Leem enters UK market

Saudi Arabian brand Leem is expanding beyond the Middle Eastern market into Europe, the US and Asia. The expansion is starting in the UK, first on retailer Next’s online platform, and with Zalando in July, reported WWD. Funded by private investors, Leem has its own e-commerce website in the Middle East and seven stores in the kingdom, the UAE and Bahrain.

Dallas Museum of Art opens exhibit “Cartier and Islamic Art”

The Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) has launched a new exhibit titled ‘Cartier and Islamic Art: In search of Modernity’ that will run until September. The exhibit highlights the Islamic art and jewellry works of the French fashion house, reported Business Recorder. The show is being developed in conjunction with Paris’ Museé des Arts Décoratifs, and in partnership with the Maison Cartier. The exhibit will feature “over 400 objects from major international collections, including the Department of Islamic Arts at the Louvre Museum and the Keir Collection of Islamic Art on loan to the DMA”.

Halal Industry
Indonesian halal product assurance body still not fully effective after three years

The country took a major shift in halal certification in October 2019, but how has the transition worked?


Jakarta: Indonesia embraced a major shift in its halal certification space on 17 October 2019, transitioning from LPPOM MUI into the Halal Product Assurance Agency BPJPH with the body having made “significant progress” in terms of speeding up and simplifying the halal certification process.

Subandriyah, BPJPH co-ordinator of halal registration, said the number of applications submitted and halal certificates issued had increased in the last three years. In 2019 there were 498 applications and two halal certificates issued; the following year this shifted to 11,888 applications and 5,654 certificates.

Last year the agency processed 25,317 applications and issued 12,884 halal certificates, while the statistics for 2022 currently reflect 2,307 applications with 109 certificates issued. The number of products the agency has declared halal has also increased to 325,875.

This is against the 668,615 products LPPOM MUI deemed halal between 2012 and 2019, Subandriyah told a webinar held by the Indonesia Halal Training & Education Centre (IHATEC) on Tuesday.

He said the body, which falls under the ministry of religious affairs, was also expanding mutual recognition agreements with foreign halal bodies through a government-to-government scheme. This had already happened with Chile (2020), Argentina (2021) and Hungary in 2022.

“BPJPH, on behalf of the government of Indonesia in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade, is also spreading information on halal certification processes in Indonesia to international business operators through trade business councils and halal forums or desks,” Subandriyah added.

However, during the webinar, Roch Ratri Wandansari, Head of Regulatory and Scientific Affairs Nestlé Indonesia said there were “many things” the BPJPH had to improve. One issue was the lack of communication between LPPOM MUI and BPJPH that effectively delayed the timeline for receiving halal certification issuance.

“We use LPPOM MUI as our auditor and, after submitting the documents required, BPJPH (does) not issue the halal certificate. We need to check with LPPOM MUI whether they have sent the halal determination letter to BPJPH and check with BPJPH whether they have received the documents from LPPOM MUI,” Wandansari said, indicating some of the company’s products submitted for halal certification two or three months ago were still “hanging somewhere”.

“They need to develop a fully integrated system,” he said.

Another issue was when manufacturers had a new product development that fell within in the same category as an earlier one, but was then treated as a new registration. This translated into another inspection cost the company had to absorb.

“It should be one cost for one halal certification with no other halal inspection costs and no new registration for development. Also, there should be a reward for a company that implemented its halal assurance system in a good way, so when it expires in four years, it can be extended,” Wandansari added.

© SalaamGateway.com 2022. All Rights Reserved

Islamic Finance
Newswrap: Islamic finance

Iran to introduce takaful for Sunni population; AAOIFI, IIFM and IFSB working on risk-free benchmark; Malaysia’s new digital banks not expected to enter mainstream until 2026


Iran to introduce takaful for Sunni population

For the first time Iran will introduce takaful (insurance) for its Sunni population, which is less than 10 million out of the country’s 85 million people. Amin Re has applied for a takaful licence to operate on Kish Island, off the country’s south coast. According to the Financial Tribune, citing Risknews, Amin Re submitted application both to the country’s regulatory body and the Kish Island Free Trade Zone Organisation.

While Iran has an Islamic financial system it operates differently from Sunni majority countries. The Iranian religious authorities had not previously endorsed a Sunni-focused takaful system, but in December, the finance ministry indicated it was open to takaful due to rising demand.

AAOIFI, IIFM and IFSB working on risk-free benchmark

The Bahrain-baed Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI), the International Islamic Financial Market (IIFM) and the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) are working n standards to “reflect the economic reality of the Islamic transaction rather than the money market price,” the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) Governor Rasheed Al Maraj was quoted as saying by Gulf Daily News at the 20th Annual Sharia Board Conference of AAOIFI.

The governor said that the “implementation of risk-free benchmark rates replacing Libor is of interest to the Islamic finance industry,” the newspaper wrote. “I believe it is time for the industry to try to address one of the strongest and most common criticisms from the public about the use of traditional benchmark rates for Islamic transaction pricing. It is admittedly more complex and subtle than just using a money market reference price but it is the right thing to do,” said Al Maraj. “I hope that the revised common standard incorporates market best practices in Sharia governance and will significantly raise the level of governance for the industry,” he added.

Malaysia’s new digital banks not expected to enter mainstream until 2026

The five digital banks awarded with a licence by Bank Negara Malaysia, the central bank, of which two are Islamic banks, are not likely to become significant market players for at least five years, according to Fitch Ratings. Asian Banking and Finance quoted the agency as saying that “the digital banks are likely to be active in less capital intensive areas, such as payments and remittances, distribution of third-party investment and insurance products, as well as selective lending.As such, digital banks are not likely to become major competitors to traditional banks within the next five years.”

Fitch stated: “These [new digital banks] tend to revolve around under-served clientele, such as lower-income consumers and micro and small enterprises that lack the collateral or cash flow required by banks to qualify for credit.”

Regulations will also hinder expansion, with Bank Negara’s licencing framework capping digital banks’ assets at Ringitt 4 billion ($688 million) in the initial phase, which is until 2026, and possibly until 2029.

“This means aggregate digital bank balance sheets will be less than 1% of the system in the medium-term under even the most bullish assumptions,” Fitch stated. Competitive pricing is a further drawback.

“The availability of unsecured financing at comparably low rates of 15%-18% is likely to set low benchmarks on what new entrants can realistically charge, which may not be adequate to compensate for the higher risk of lending to lower credit-quality customers,” the report said, adding that taking a slice of the market is going to be an uphill battle. “The large banks’ incumbency advantage is unlikely to be eroded within the medium term, even if competition intensifies at the margin in areas that the digital banks choose to compete in.”

Halal Industry
The Gulf’s battle against food waste

Managing food waste remains a critical challenge in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.


Nearly 17% of the food available to consumers in 2019 – an amount nudging 1,000 million tonnes – ended up in the rubbish bins of households, retailers, restaurants and other food services, reveals United Nations (UN) research conducted to support global efforts to halve food waste by 2030.


In high-income countries like the GCC, food is mainly wasted at the consumer level. It typically ends up in landfills where the decomposition process emits methane gas 25 times more damaging than carbon dioxide.

Studies highlight that wastage increases on social and religious occasions such as the holy month of Ramadan. However, various local organisations offer solutions for businesses and private households to reduce food waste; help the needy and generate alternative energy.

“Putting a serious dent in food loss and waste will slow climate change, protect nature and increase food security – at a time when we desperately need these things to happen,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), adding these issues account for up to 10% of greenhouse gas emissions.

The UNEP Food Waste Index Report, published in March 2021, exposes western Asia, including the GCC, with 110kg per capita annually as the region with the highest average household food waste. Following on its heels is sub-Saharan Africa with 108kg and then southern Europe with 90kg.

Dubai – household food waste is 95kg per person each year

The Food Waste Index reveals the United Arab Emirates (UAE) estimated household food waste amounts to over 923,000 tonnes per year or 95kgs per capita per year. According to Dubai Carbon, roughly 38% of the food prepared daily in the Emirate is wasted. This jumps to around 60% during Ramadan.

In 2013 the Dubai Municipality’s Waste Management Department launched an integrated waste management master plan, aiming at slashing the amount of waste sent to landfills by 75% by 2021 and 98% by 2030.

Although Dubai achieved a total waste diversion rate of 31.8% in 2018 versus the 25% target, the domestic waste reduction rate disappoints. According to Dubai Municipality Statistics 2018-2020, published in February 2022, the percentage of domestic waste that went to landfills grew from a 62.7% share of total waste in 2019 to 77.8% in 2020.

Equally, while the composting rate increased from 0.35% to 1.035% during the same period, the recycling efforts dropped from 36.9% share to 21.1%.

However, food waste disposal technology is available to Dubai households and businesses, helping them to turn food waste into biogas and soil nutrients. Emerson, an American multinational Fortune 500 company serving the industrial, commercial and consumer markets, has regionally distributed the InSinkErator® brand since the firm opened its Dubai office in 2010.

“The food waste gets ground and shredded into small particles. Then it goes through the sewer system to the wastewater treatment plant,” Mohamed Karam said, explaining the InSinkErator concept using centrifugal force.

Karam is Senior Business Development Manager Middle East and Africa at InSinkErator®.

“Over the twelve years, we managed to increase our business between 8% to 12% on average almost every year. By helping to have a clean house, we increase hygiene. Moreover, we reduce the household’s carbon footprint as the waste doesn’t need to be stored or transported,” he told Salaam Gateway.

Taking the waste issue to the next level, Dubai’s Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum approved the Integrated Waste Management Strategy 2021-2041 at the beginning of this year. Its AED74.5 billion ($20.2 billion) budget covers waste management, recycling and energy conversion projects.

Sheikh Hamdan highlighted the private sector’s role as a critical strategic partner in Dubai’s efforts to become a sustainable city, noting the sector’s direct contribution amounts to 94.6% of the budget.



Qatar – high consumption and low recycling translates into excess food wastage

The Food Waste Index indicated Qatar’s annual estimated household food wastage exceeds 267,000 tonnes given the country’s high consumption and low recycling rate. This translates to 95kg per capita.

Qatar-based sustainability advocacy group EcoMENA estimates leftover food makes up about half of the waste sitting in Qatar’s landfills. Moreover, only a minimal portion of this discarded food is composted, despite the short supply of good soil.

EcoMENA’s research shows people throw away up to 25% of all food prepared during Ramadan.

In Qatar charitable enterprises like Wahab play a vital role in humanitarian activities to preserve food and reduce waste. The non-profit organisation collects food leftovers from hotels, supermarkets and restaurants to deliver to the needy.

Sport related events have also been a focus with Wahab’s EcoProbe, a 24-hour composting machine, operating at the 72nd FIFA Congress and Final Draw at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre (DECC) on 1 April.

In a LinkedIn post, Wahab’s founder and social entrepreneur Wardha Mamukoya said organic waste and compostable products from the event were successfully processed, proving seamless food waste management is possible, even in urban settings.

Moreover, Wahab redistributed over three tonnes of surplus food after the MotoGP event at the Lusail Circuit Sports Club held in March. Instead of being thrown into landfills, the charity collected fruit, vegetables and other food items and shared them with the community.

While Islamic teachings prohibit wastage in every life aspect, Andrea Cattaneo, a senior economist at the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, highlights three dimensions in which countries benefit from food waste reduction.

According to Cattaneo, economics improve as the reduction in losses increases business productivity, food security advances and the environment recovers as resources aren’t used to no end.

© SalaamGateway.com 2022. All Rights Reserved

Islamic Lifestyle
New collaborations to tap into luxury and under-30 modest fashion segments

Global online fashion retailers to launch new modest fashion collections focusing on sustainability and aimed at Middle Eastern markets.


Dubai: British-Portuguese online luxury fashion retailer Farfetch and London-based boutique Browns are set to launch one of the largest modest fashion collections this spring, specifically designed with the Middle Eastern market in mind.

The collaboration brings an assortment of 35 modest fashion capsule collections to the market with the 182-piece collection spanning women’s’ wear, men’s wear, kids’ wear, and fine jewellery. It will launch throughout April and May in time for Ramadan and Eid.

The curation features a mix of established and emerging designers including 16Arlington (UK), L’Afshar (United Arab Emirates – UAE), Marine Serre (France), Nanushka (Hungary), Anouki (Georgia) and Taller Marmo (UAE).

The collection’s campaign is a “celebration of modesty, showcasing its many interpretations, as represented in the breadth of this exclusive edit,” Farfetch said in a statement.

The campaign was shot in the UAE, one of the top five modest-fashion exporters to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) region, according to the State of the Global Islamic Economy (SGIE) Report 2022.

This is not the first time Farfetch has launched a Ramadan collection. In April 2021 the luxury fashion marketplace, which sells products from over 2,000 brands, launched a capsule collection for Ramadan in collaboration with 30 designers.

Modest fashion continues to grow in popularity with new mainstream offerings and expansions across non-Muslim countries. The SGIE Report 2022 valued the global modest fashion industry at$295 billion and expects it to grow at a 6.1% four-year compound average growth rate (CAGR) to reach $375 billion by 2025.


See - Infographic SGIE 2022: Modest fashion


The largest markets for modest fashion include Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia with strong growth predicted for countries such as Indonesia and Pakistan.

In addition to providing ample opportunities for luxury brands, the modest fashion industry offers unexplored niche market segments such as modest clothing aimed at the younger generation. Modestwist, a UK based online retailer that provides trend-driven and affordable modest clothing to Muslim millennials, is one of the few brands catering to this niche segment.

The company launched in September 2021 and was named by the Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund as a Top 36 Fashion Startup.


Designs by Tbilisi-based Anouki feature in Farfetch-Browns' modest fashion collection campaign (Courtesy: Farfetch).


One of the latest global brands to expand into the modest fashion segment is Boohoo. The British online fashion retailer, aimed at 16- to 30-year-olds, announced in February it was launching a modest fashion line designed by Sameera Mohmed.

The final-year fashion design student won a national competition launched by Boohoo and Graduate Fashion Week to find upcoming talents to design a more sustainable commercial range for the retailer. Participants were tasked with designing four complete outfits with the winner having their collection sold on boohoo.com and receiving a £3,000 ($3900) cash prize.

Sameera’s collection featured coordinated suits and tracksuits, modest swimwear, satin dresses and oversized poplin dresses, and uses recycled polyester, linen and nylon.

Based on her winning designs, the 20-year-old will work with Boohoo designers to develop a spring/summer range to be launched in London this June.

“The concept for my collection is to create a diverse, more sustainable and modest collection catering to all women of different races and beliefs,” Sameera said in an interview with Boohoo.

The collection will complement Boohoo’s existing modest fashion offering that includes around 60 affordable options ranging from maxi-dresses and long-sleeve tops, to jumpsuits and coats.

© SalaamGateway.com 2022. All Rights Reserved

Halal Industry
Newswrap: Halal industry

PIF to invest $320 million in Saudi Coffee Company; India bans wheat exports; EBRD to bolster food storage capacities and developed food security plans in the MENA; Nigeria’s BUA Foods buys new ships to bolster sugar exports; Pakistan-Turkey-Kazakhstan biotech forum to be held.


PIF to invest $320 million in Saudi Coffee Company

The Public Investment Fund (PIF), the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, has launched the Saudi Coffee Company, intending to invest SAR1.2 billion ($320 million) over the next decade, reported the Saudi Press Agency (SPA). The aim is to bolster production from 300 tonnes per year to 2,500 tonnes, and develop the whole value chain “from bean to cup”. Coffee consumption in the kingdom grew by 4% a year between 2016-2021 and is forecast to rise by 5% a year to 2026, to 28,700 tonnes, according to data cited by the SPA. In the three mountainous regions of Jazan, Al Baha, and Aseer there are more than 2,500 coffee plantations with a combined total of around 400,000 coffee trees.

India bans wheat exports

India, the world’s second largest wheat producer after China, has banned wheat exports following a severe heat wave that damaged crops. Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February, New Delhi pledged to export 10 million tonnes of wheat this year, but this has been put on hold, with the harvest expected to drop from 111 million tonnes to less than 100 million tonnes, Nasdaq reported. Whiel wheat prices have surged by around 60% this year, the World Bank is forecasting that wheat prices will reach a record $450 per tonne this year, a 42% rise on 2021. India will continue to export to countries with letters of credit already issued "to meet their food security needs,” reported Reuters. Egypt confirmed on Sunday that it will still be able to buy half a million tonnes of wheat from India.

EBRD to bolster food storage capacities and developed food security plans in the Middle East and North Africa

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is discussing ways to boost food storage capacity and to diversify food suppliers in Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt, Reuters reported.

The talks come in the wake of spiking food prices in the wake of the pandemic and the disruption to food exports from Ukraine. "We are in early discussions on what is needed on capital investment to boost storage facilities," EBRD Southern and Eastern Mediterranean Managing Director Heike Hargmart told Reuters. Additionally, the bank is involved with the World Bank to develop a regional food security mechanism plan for Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan. Iraq is in the process of becoming a EBRD member, while eight Sub-Saharan African countries are expected to join, Hargmart told Reuters.

Nigeria’s BUA Foods buys new ships to bolster sugar exports

Nigeria’s BUA Foods, a food group with operations in sugar, flour, pasta, rice and edible oil,has acquired two new ships to boost operations in West Africa, reported This Day. Nigeria’s sugar market is forecast by 3.5% CAGR between 2022-2027, according to Expert Market Research.

Refined sugar is processed at BUA Foods’ refinery in Port Hartcourt, with a capacity of 750,000 tonnes. In December, BUA’s five food businesses - Sugar Refinery Limited, BUA Rice Limited, BUA Oil Mills Limited, IRS Flour and IRS Pasta – were merged into BUA Foods. “We see an increased and continued demand for refined sugar across the region with attendant increase for logistics support to aid timely delivery, which is why it is important for us to strengthen our current capability with our own controlled asset as we advance further in our business strategy. These new vessels will create operational efficiencies in our business and open possibilities for new services,” said Alhaji Abdul Samad Rabi, Chairman, BUA Foods.

Pakistan-Turkey-Kazakhstan biotech forum to be held

A three day `Pakistan-Turkey-Kazakhstan Youth Forum on Biotechnology’ will be held in September to discuss ways to bolster the share of Muslim countries in the biotech space, APP reported. The event is sponsored by COMSTECH-the OIC Standing Committee for Scientific and Technological Cooperation, Islamic Organization for Food Security (IOFS) and the Islamic Cooperation Youth Forum (ICYF) under the theme “Agriculture Biotechnology”. Applicants can register online.

Islamic Finance
Equity crowdfunding platform Maydan Capital closes first fundraising round

Maydan Capital provides seed financing to Netherlands-based Fairnance, a home-financing platform for the excluded.


London: Maydan Capital, a UK-based equity crowdfunding platform that seek offer early stage and initial growth halal and ethical investment opportunities to tech-focused investors, recently closed its first fundraising on its platform.

Maydan, which is an appointed representative of US-based Islamic robo-advisor Wahed Invest, and regulated by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority, provided seed financing to Fairnance, a Netherlands-based home-financing platform that strives to make home-ownership accessible to those who are currently excluded.

Amsterdam-based Fairnance offers an equity-based financing product that shares risk equally between homeowner and investor. Based on the concept of disintermediation in home-financing, Fairnance seeks to build an alternative home-financing solution that serves people in the Netherlands who are excluded from home ownership.

Maydan raised €150,000 ($158,000) via a SAFE [simple agreement for future equity] investment to Fairnance around two weeks ago and then disbursed the funds a few days later, according to Safdar Alam, CEO of Maydan Capital.

“[The] investment is via a SAFE agreement. Disbursement of the funds is in three stages, with clearly defined milestones to be met before the following disbursement is made,” Alam told Salaam Gateway. “Upon future conversion, Maydan will receive Certificates of Ownership in Fairnance, which has been created as a co-operative, rather than a limited company, which provides many operational and administration benefits.”

Upon completion of the milestones and the conversion of the SAFE, it is anticipated that the investment will deliver a return of three times, and then, in addition to that, future returns as the company grows.

“The investments raised via SAFE will support Fairnance for around 12 to 24 months,” he said. “Beyond this, after conversion, Fairnance have already secured significant commitment for their future fundraising requirements.”

Fairnance did not require the funding from Maydan, but were keen on developing a long-term relationship, Alam noted, adding that Maydan warmed to the founders’ story and mission.

"We love the founders - their background, their drive, their commitment to positive social impact. They are entering a new market for equity home financing (with the focus on the EU) and they also have an innovative structure to raise capital for property acquisition, where Maydan can play a significant role in supporting Fairnance,” he said. “This is also addressing a key problem for potential homeowners who are excluded from the debt-based mortgage market.”

Growing Sharia investor base

Despite an estimated $2.28 trillion Islamic finance industry, Sharia compliant fintechs and early-stage start-ups struggle to raise financing from traditional Islamic investors and funds.

To address this gap, the number of UK-based Sharia VC fundraising platforms has steadily increased in the past couple of years. Among the most notable players are IFG.VC angel syndicate as well as Bristol-based Ethical Equity which connects ethical and Sharia compliant start-ups and scale-ups to like-minded investors.

Other efforts include Ethos Invest, which last year announced its intention to establish a £1 billion ($1.23 billion) fund for private equity investments in Islamic and ethical SMEs.

Nonetheless, Maydan is open to suitable global investment and financing opportunities.

“We are happy to consider all geographies – being based in the UK, we do see good deal flow in the UK and in Europe,” said Alam. “We are also working on deals in the GCC, India and Pakistan, Malaysia and Indonesia, and also in the US and Africa. In terms of sectors, we have a strong preference for tech-based ideas, and especially fintech.”

As well as developing its own deals, Maydan works with partners to open up investment and financing opportunities. For example, last month, Maydan Capital signed a partnership with Wa’ed Ventures, the VC arm of the Saudi Aramco Entrepreneurship Centre, to support Saudi-based start-ups. Maydan also works with other organisations, like the UK Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (UKPCCI), which connects business circles in the UK and Pakistan to promote trade and investment.

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Islamic Lifestyle
Newswrap: Islamic lifestyle

New York launches a halal travel guide; Philippines promotes Mindanao; UAE and Malaysia bolster medical tourism; 25 million visit Istanbul’s Grand Çamlıca Mosque; and Saudi Arabian Airlines launches business divisions, B2B travel solutions.


New York launches USA's first official halal travel guide

The official travel marketing bureau for New York, NYC & Company, has launched a Halal Travel Guide for guides and tourists. It is the first such guide released by a US tourism organisation, reported Breaking Travel News. Created in conjunction with Halal Trip/Crescent Rating, the guide highlights halal certified restaurants, Muslim history and art exhibitions, and tips and advice from Muslim travel experts. New York has more than 275 mosques spread across the five boroughs.

“We are proud to launch this all-new travel resource celebrating the incredibly rich and diverse Muslim travel experiences found in New York City,” said Fred Dixon, President and CEO at NYC & Company. “The Muslim community has been an integral part of the fabric of our City for nearly 400 years and we are committed to showcasing the authentic Halal offerings and more found across the five boroughs.”

Philippines promotes Mindanao

Philippines’ tourism department has launched a promotional campaign, Colours of Mindanao, to highlight the cultural and touristic attractions of the Muslim-majority island in the south. The campaign also highlights Muslim-friendly tourism, reported the Sun Star. The colours campaign represents a tourism segment, “with blue for dive tourism, teal for sun and beach, green for ecotourism, brown for farm tourism, violet for culture and heritage, red for adventure and sports tourism, orange for food tourism and yellow for faith tourism.”

UAE and Malaysia bolster medical tourism

European Wellness Academie, the Malaysian subsidiary of European Wellness Biomedical Group, entered into a partnership with Dubai-based AK International, a healthcare distribution and technology firm, to bolster health tourism links, particularly in chronic degenerative conditions and untreatable rare diseases, reported Laing Busson.

The partnership is to developed a “technology-driven digital wellness service ‘corridor’, to seamlessly connect UAE patients with healthcare service providers in Malaysia,” while two centres of excellence will be established in the Emirates. The tie-up will also explore the potential development of a halal hub for biotechnology and regenerative medicine in the Iskandar Malaysia Development Area in Johor.

25 million visit Istanbul’s Grand Çamlıca Mosque

Istanbul’s Grand Mosque of Çamlıca, which opened three years ago, has attracted 25 million visitors, reported Daily Sabah. Construction started in 2013, with the mosque a combination of Seljuk and and Ottoman architecture. It houses the recently opened Museum of Islamic Civilisations, eight art workshops, an art gallery, a conference hall, and a library with 50,000 books. The museum opened at the beginning of Ramadan, and has attracted 150,000 people. It includes 800 pieces of Islamic art, and has 15 thematic sections.

Saudi Arabian Airlines launches business divisions, B2B travel solutions

Saudi Arabian Airlines (SAUDIA) launched the all-new rebranded business division for the airline, SAUDIA Business, specialising in B2B travel solutions for corporate, agency and MICE clients at Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2022 in Dubai, according to a press release. SAUDIA Business provides unique solutions for each travel requirement for a diverse range of beneficiaries, including corporations, travel agencies, and event organisers. The new account management department will streamline the booking process and support corporate travel through a seamless online platform with multiple functions and tools to serve SAUDIA’s business clients from A to Z. SAUDIA Business will have a dedicated meetings and events team that assists with specific corporate travel needs and event organisation worldwide. The new division will serve and support clients with busy schedules who frequently go on business trips, whether for meetings, incentive travel, conventions, or exhibitions (MICE).


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