President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa visited Qatar on the 14th and 15th of November 2023, accompanied by a high-level business delegation. This visit marked Ramaphosa’s first as Head of State to Qatar, emphasizing the significance of economic cooperation between the two nations. The delegation aimed to explore opportunities for collaboration in various sectors, including energy, mining, agro-processing, retail, healthcare, tourism, and shipbuilding.
During the visit, President Ramaphosa engaged with the Qatari business community and invited Qatar to join in developing a portfolio of South African investments, in which both the Qatari sovereign wealth fund and private sector could participate. This gesture underscores the commitment to strengthening bilateral economic ties and the anticipation of successful outcomes from these high-level business engagements.
The involvement of the National Independent Halaal Trust (NIHT), represented by Moulana Abdul Wahab Wookay, in the State Visit highlights the significant role of Halaal Certification in the meat trade between Qatar and South Africa. This certification is crucial for meat products entering Qatar, aligning with the country’s Islamic dietary laws and standards.
The trade statistics further underscore this relationship. In 2022, Qatar imported meat and edible meat offal from South Africa valued at approximately US$44.7 million. This points to a robust trade connection, with Qatar being a significant market for South African meat products. Particularly noteworthy is Qatar’s position as a key market for South Africa’s fresh beef exports, where it accounted for about 9% of these exports in the same year.
This scenario exemplifies the interconnectedness of global trade, cultural dietary requirements, and the role of organizations like the NIHT in facilitating and ensuring compliance with these requirements.