Local and international business people flocked to the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) in support of the annual Africa Halaal Week. The week was celebrated from Monday 7 October to Wednesday 9 October. The celebration was hosted by Wesgro in partnership with the department of economic development and tourism and the City of Cape Town.The event started with a business networking function and was followed by a two-day-long exhibition. There were over 64 halaal stalls offering unique products from beverages and food to fashion, Muslim banking and media. Towfiq Hendricks, head of the district unit, said the event has grown compared to last year, and this proves the increased demand for more exposure for Muslim businesses across the continent.He said the future of businesses is in the positive networking and marketing, which Wesgrow is determined to provide. He said Africa Halaal Week is not aimed at celebrating the religion or culture, but it provides support to businesses.Zaida Enver, the event organiser, said having 24 international buyers and a lot of people coming to support the exhibition was the best part of the event. She, however, said numbers alone would not be satisfactory, but “to see business taking place, seeing the exchange of business cards and watching exhibitors and buyers is what makes me happy. That is what this exhibition is about.”Local entrepreneurs said the gathering created a great platform to market their products, and it was amazing to see other entrepreneurs showing interest in their work.Jennikle Roux, general manager at Healey’s Cheese, had not made any sales at the time of doing the interview, but said: “I have created leads and exchanged business cards. That is good, because we are here to showcase our work. For orders, we will definitely have to make follow-ups with the prospective buyers.”Another entrepreneur, Frits van Ryneveld of Darling Sweets, said the exhibition was educational for him as he got to learn about the expectations of bulk buyers from different aspects of the continent. He was also impressed by the mutual interest in the use of recyclable material within the business sector.He said the boxes and sweet wraps they use at his business are recyclable, and guests at the exhibition were impressed by the concept.An international buyer, Zachary D. Lee, from Malaysia, was impressed by the variety of halaal products South Africa has to offer. His interest was in Rooibos products, saying his pharmacy uses it in manufacturing medicines and herbal products. He said he was able to learn more about the variety of products that South Africans use it for, and how it is best packaged.David Maynier, the provincial minister of finance and economic opportunities, said the department was delighted to host a successful Halaal Week for a second time.He said the province is home to a large Muslim population and is among the world’s most friendly destination for Muslims.Maynier said this year’s event is a great example of the provincial government focus on export-led growth in the halaal economy.