BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Feb. 16 (Xinhua) — According to a recent independent study, Brunei’s thriving halal industry holds significant potential to become a vital component in the country’s efforts to diversify its economy and reduce dependence on hydrocarbon exports.
The 2019 investment outlook for Brunei, published by ASEAN Briefing, suggests that Brunei could capitalize on the stringent standards of its halal industry to access the expanding global halal market. ASEAN Briefing, a subsidiary of consultancy firm Dezan Shira and Associates, delivers technical and business information on ASEAN nations through its online portal.
The report highlights the importance of key economic indicators, including food and beverages, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals, as the Sultanate aims to establish itself as a halal industry hub in ASEAN.
The study emphasizes that Brunei’s Bio-Innovation Corridor initiative could act as a catalyst for the country’s halal economy. Launched in February 2014, the Bio-Innovation Corridor, formerly known as the Brunei Agro-Technology Park, aims to spearhead the growth of non-oil and gas businesses in the nation. It offers infrastructure, support, and development programs to help small and medium enterprises thrive.
Furthermore, the Brunei-Guangxi Economic Corridor, a collaborative project between Brunei and China, could also aid the Sultanate in its economic diversification efforts. This initiative encompasses comprehensive cooperation in various sectors, such as agriculture, manufacturing, halal food production, pharmaceuticals, and tourism.
With approximately 60% of Brunei’s economy dominated by its oil industry, the nation has been striving to reduce its reliance on petroleum for years. ASEAN Briefing warns that Brunei’s heavy dependence on oil and gas-related industries exposes it to external economic risks, including disruptions in production due to aging oil fields and unfavorable fluctuations in global oil and gas prices. To mitigate these risks, the report urges the Sultanate to develop high-value-added manufacturing and service sectors.
Brunei’s halal industry is poised for growth, with the potential to play a pivotal role in the country’s economic diversification and reduction of reliance on hydrocarbon exports. By tapping into the rapidly expanding global halal market, Brunei can unlock numerous opportunities for growth and development in various sectors.
The global halal market, valued at over $2 trillion, encompasses not only food and beverages but also pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, fashion, finance, and tourism. As the demand for halal products and services continues to rise, fueled by a growing Muslim population and increasing awareness of ethical consumption, Brunei can leverage its stringent halal standards to establish a competitive edge in the international arena.
To capitalize on these opportunities, Brunei should focus on several strategic areas:
- Strengthening halal certification and regulation: Ensuring compliance with international halal standards is crucial for attracting global investors and consumers. By continuously refining and enhancing its halal certification process and regulatory framework, Brunei can position itself as a trusted source of high-quality halal products and services.
- Encouraging innovation and research: Supporting the development of innovative halal products, technologies, and services can help Brunei create a niche within the global market. Investment in research and development (R&D) centers, partnerships with international institutions, and fostering a culture of innovation can drive growth in the halal sector.
- Enhancing human capital: Developing a skilled workforce with expertise in various aspects of the halal industry is essential for sustaining growth. Brunei should invest in education and training programs, both locally and internationally, to build a talent pool equipped to drive the halal sector forward.
- Fostering international collaboration: Forming strategic partnerships with other countries can help Brunei expand its halal industry and gain access to new markets. Collaborative projects, such as the Brunei-Guangxi Economic Corridor, can facilitate knowledge sharing, technology transfer, and joint ventures in various sectors, including agriculture, manufacturing, and tourism.
- Promoting the halal industry through branding and marketing: Building a strong brand identity for Brunei’s halal industry is essential for attracting global attention and investment. By implementing effective marketing strategies and participating in international trade fairs and conferences, Brunei can showcase its halal products and services to a broader audience.
By focusing on these key areas, Brunei can unlock the full potential of its halal industry, transforming it into a cornerstone of the nation’s economic diversification efforts and reducing dependence on hydrocarbon exports. This strategic approach will not only create new growth opportunities but also contribute to long-term economic stability and resilience.
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