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ISEF-HEI 2023 Collaboration Strengthens the Acceleration of the Halal Industry in the International Market

Oct 2023

Jakarta, October 26, 2023 - The 10th Indonesia Sharia Economic Festival (ISEF) was officially opened to the public on the 26th of October, 2023, by the Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia, K.H. Ma'ruf Amin. With the theme "Accelerating Sharia Economy and Finance Through Digitalization for Inclusive and Sustainable Growth," this year's ISEF event occurred over five days from October 25th to 29th, 2023, at the Jakarta Convention Center (JCC).

Indonesia Sharia Economy Festival (ISEF)

ISEF 2023 presents 793 exhibitors from Indonesia and 20 countries, occupying an area of 10,000 m2. ISEF 2023 features 62 series of seminars, talk shows, and various other events involving 22 ministries and agencies, 37 associations, 1,003 industry players, and 46 international partners. ISEF, initiated by the Bank of Indonesia in 2014, aims to attract at least 40,000 visitors, including buyers and investors from domestic and foreign markets.

In his speech, Vice President K.H. Ma'ruf Amin appreciates the consistent organization of ISEF each year to increase literacy and market share in the field of Sharia economy and finance in the country. According to the Vice President, the current level of sharia economic and financial literacy in the country is still far from ideal, at only 23.3%. This also affects the market share of Sharia finance, which is currently around 10.9%. Therefore, the Vice President believes that the state of sharia economic and financial development in Indonesia can continue to be improved and driven forward, aiming for at least a 50% literacy rate. "The greater the literacy of Sharia economic and financial matters, the greater the acceptance and use of Sharia economic and financial products by the public, leading to an increase in this sector's contribution to the national economy," the Vice President stated.

Reflecting on the development of the national Sharia economy over the past four years, technology and digitization have played a vital role in driving the Sharia economic and financial sector to be more agile, adaptive, and transformative. Therefore, during the ISEF event, the Vice President urged all participants in the Sharia economy to continue enhancing and expanding digitization and digital innovation as the main drivers of Sharia finance, which will improve the efficiency and productivity of the halal industry. One of the digitalization programs developed is the "Satu Wakaf" application, launched concurrently with the ISEF event, as a manifestation of digitalization in the social sharia fund sector that will enhance the quality and capacity of wakaf management.

At the same time, launching the master plan for the halal industry in Indonesia is a crucial document for the growth and sustainability of the halal industry in the country. Therefore, the growth of Muslim or Sharia entrepreneurs, according to the Vice President, must be continuously promoted through incubation programs, strengthening the capacity of existing entrepreneurs and transitioning conventional businesses into Sharia-compliant ones. Considering that the halal industry, the financial industry, and sharia social funds such as wakaf and zakat will not be optimal without entrepreneurs.

Halal Expo Indonesia (HEI)

The collaboration between ISEF and HEI (Halal Expo Indonesia) is one of the efforts that strengthen the chain of the Sharia economic ecosystem in Indonesia. It is the largest Business to Business and Business and Consumer exhibition in Indonesia, complete with various exciting programs such as the International Conference, Business Matchmaking, Business Forum, and other special events. In a total area of 3,500 square meters in Hall A, HEI features approximately 120 stands with business representatives from both within and outside the country, including Malaysia, Cambodia, Belarusian, China, India, Egypt, Iran, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, India, USA, Jordan, Japan, Turkey, and even Palestine.

During this event, a series of conferences will discuss current topics, including opportunities and challenges for Indonesian products to penetrate the global market, especially in Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and China. Furthermore, a conference titled "Innovation in the Halal Ecosystem: Exploring Global Opportunities in the Halal Industry" was held and featured Mufti Faraz Adam (Chief Executive Officer of Amanah Advisors, a Sharia financial and fintech consultancy based in the UK), along with Dr. Sari Chairunissa (Vice President of R&D at Paragon Corp), Dima Djani (HIJRA Bank), and Novel Tjahyadi (Managing Partner at IntiHub). In his presentation, Mufti Faraz Adam emphasized the importance of innovation in the halal ecosystem, its future opportunities, and challenges, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of the sustainable evolution in the halal industry based on the fusion of technology, ethics, and sharia principles.

In the following panel, "Trade Strategies and Economic Collaboration in Global Halal Products," speakers include Ir. Ganef Judawati (Secretary of the Directorate General for National Export Development at the Ministry of Trade), Putu Rahwidhiyasa (Director of Sharia Business and Entrepreneurship at KNEKS), and Heri Akhmadi (Indonesia's Ambassador to Tokyo).

The conference will also address the trend of Artificial Intelligence technology, claimed to be a massive development in the future, in a session titled "The Use of AI in the Halal Economy," with speaker Hendra Sumiarsa (Supervisory Board Member of the Indonesia Artificial Intelligence Society [IAIS]). There was also a panel discussion titled "Halal Economy: Paving the Way to Net Zero," featuring Arfan Arlanda (CEO & Founder of jejakin.com), KADIN Net Zero Hub, and Vitri Sekarsari (Deputy Head of Partnership and Resource Mobilization at LTKL [Lingkar Temu Kabupaten Lestari]).

Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno also presented on "Investment Opportunities in the Halal Industry Business" along with Dr. Mohammed Al-Jammaz (AlJammaz Group), Nasser A. Alajroush (Director of Investment at AlRajhi Partners), and LPPOM MUI.

Other topics to be discussed include business scalability without usury, enhancing the quality and capacity of halal product production, accelerating certification in various related sectors such as the hospitality industry, halal tourism, zakat fund management for the empowerment of the economy, sharia economy literacy, and edutainment.

CFO of PT Halal Expo Indonesia, Aryo Wibisono, mentioned that the series of conferences held during HEI aims to strengthen the Sharia economic ecosystem and expand networks with HEI partners abroad, including Saudi International Halal Expo, Halal Expo Nigeria, Halal Expo London, Malaysia International Halal Showcase (MIHAS), Korea Halal Authority, Halal Control Germany, Vietnam Halal Center, Japan Halal Certification Promotion Organization, Cape Malay Consultant, and others.

Halal Expo Indonesia has also recently signed a strategic agreement with Wasabih, an online Sharia economy community that has been recognized worldwide. Its members consist of professionals and halal business operators. Through the Wasabih platform, various halal businesses will connect, making it easier for business operators to find suitable business partners, plan meetings, and engage in business deals (business matchmaking).

During the HEI event at ISEF 2023, the Indonesian Muslim Entrepreneurs Community (KPMI) also offers the Export Academy program, an export human resource development ecosystem initiated by KPMI in collaboration with Nudira Learning Centre, Aspenku, and Hibbu Creative House. This program is ready to enhance the business scalability of halal product entrepreneurs toward the global market. According to KPMI Chairman Rachmat Sutarnas Marpaung, through this program, business operators not only receive online business education through competency-based video learning but also benefit from intensive and continuous offline mentoring. This helps business operators thrive optimally in the international market. "We simultaneously provide technical mentoring on improving production quality and capacity, marketing support, trade mission activities, and trade exhibitions both locally and internationally. In addition, we offer Sharia-compliant export financing support with KPMI as a strategic partner. Even businesses with limited production capacity can participate in our joint export program," Rachmat Sutarnas Marpaung explained.

Throughout the HEI event, business operators also have the opportunity to participate in business matching organized by KPMI. According to Rachmat Sutarnas Marpaung, the business matching process begins before the HEI event at ISEF to understand the needs of buyers and connect them with relevant sellers. During HEI, buyers and sellers can meet face-to-face in business lounges or at their stands. Present at the HEI event, Export Aggregators are ready to assist business operators in entering international markets in Dubai, the United States, Japan, and the Philippines. "The presence of export aggregators can help potential exporters understand the export process and assess market interest in the target export country. If the market demand is positive, they can carry out independent exports in the future," he concluded.

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