Chiemelie Ezeobi

The Global Shea Alliance and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), on Thursday said they signed a $13 million five-year agreement to promote shea markets worldwide and improve sustainable production in Africa.

The money is to be used for promotional and sustainability activities in Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, and Nigeria.

Under this Global Development Alliance, at least 40 warehouses will be constructed in Nigeria and 40 women’s groups will be formed and trained to manage those warehouses for shea collection and processing.
According to President of the Global Shea Alliance, Moumouni Konate, the shea industry is changing and companies, governments, and donors are investing more in sustainable production and improving the benefit to 16 million women collectors and processors.

“The goal of this critical partnership is to help women collectors and processors organize into cooperatives, obtain equipment and training, and improve the financial benefit from the sale of their products. Stronger and more profitable women’s groups will process more shea, improve quality, and protect the trees.”

Also, USAID/West Africa Mission Director, Alex Deprez, during the Global Shea Alliance’s annual conference in Accra, Ghana, said, “We know well the benefits of increased trade for rural communities across Africa. The Global Shea Alliance is pioneering efforts to grow markets and improve the livelihoods of rural women and their families that stand at the base of the shea value chain. We are proud to partner in these activities.”

According to the group, the partnership will match up to $6.5 million in USAID funds with $6.5 million in private sector funding raised by the Global Shea Alliance to implement promotional and sustainability activities in Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, and Nigeria.

They also hope to: “Construct 250 warehouses for women shea collector and processor groups; provide capacity building and trainings for 137,500 women shea collectors and processors;

“Launch health and safety initiatives for women collectors; improve the financial benefit of women collectors and processors by 50 percent.”

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