Shea nuts grow in traditionally managed parklands—generally tended and harvested by women—over 3 million square kilometers of Africa, a belt that includes several West African countries, including Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, and Togo. Both kernels and the butter made from them have found eager markets in European confectionary and global cosmetics and pharmaceuticals: In 2012, an estimated 350,000 MT of kernels were exported from Africa, with a market value of approximately US$120 million, while demand for West African shea butter rose by 1,200% over the last decade. About 80% of traded shea is exported as a raw commodity; only about 20% of the harvest is processed in Africa and exported as shea butter.
The Trade Hub partners with the Global Shea Alliance (GSA), launched under the previous Trade Hub project to unite producers, traders and buyers behind a platform to promote sustainable sourcing and quality of life for the women who gather and process shea. To increase price premiums paid to producer groups, the Trade Hub supports the GSA’s ongoing efforts to have shea butter accepted in the U.S. as a cocoa butter substitute, allowing it to be used in making chocolate and other candy, and significantly expanding shea export opportunities for West African producers. The Trade Hub is also building the capacity of national shea industry associations and helping the GSA improve its West African members’ capacity to export more and higher-quality shea nuts.
- September 11, 2017 Members of the African Women Entrepreneurs Program (AWEP) and other businesswomen learned about opportunities in fair trade and organic markets and best practices in package design during an annual conference to boost exports under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). The Trade Hub’s gender specialist, Jean-Didier Nacoulma, hosted a seminar and plenary practical skills training ...Read more
- July 12, 2017 Thirty members of the Burkina Faso chapter of the African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP) attended a three-day training-of-trainers workshop in the capital Ouagadougou on how best to process and sell high-quality shea butter in local, national and international markets. These thirty participants are AWEP’s focal points in Burkina Faso’s 13 regions and are expected to cascade ...Read more
- May 8, 2017 The Trade Hub attended the fourth Women’s Entrepreneurship Forum at the Andrew Young Center in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire on April 27, joining over 54 participants, including women entrepreneurs in the agriculture and apparel sectors. Speaker Ms. Rahama Wright, founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Shea Yeleen, particularly captivated the audience as she shared her ...Read more
- March 20, 2017 West African shea processors—including Zikora and Fludor from Benin, Ruby Unique Natural Premium Products from Nigeria and Charles K. Boateng from Ghana—currently export to other African countries and Europe. On March 15, the last day of the 2017 annual conference of the Global Shea Alliance in Cotonou, Benin, around 50 shea butter producers and exporters learned ...Read more
- March 7, 2017 Four West African industry organizations, all Trade Hub grantees, learned best practices for attaining financial sustainability during three-day meetings with each organization held over a two and a half week period from February 10 to 28. The four organizations—Filière Karité de Côte d’Ivoire (FIKA-CI), West African Grain Network (WAGN), Borderless Alliance (BA), and Confédération des Fédérations ...Read more
- February 27, 2017 The Filiere Karite de Côte d’Ivoire (FIKA-CI) learned strategic steps at a February workshop in optimizing communication resources and building their brand as a leading association in the Ivorian shea value chain. With more than 2,000 members from rural women’s associations, FIKA-CI is working with an important network of traders and exporting companies. Since its creation ...Read more
- December 20, 2016 Since September, the Trade Hub has supported the Filière Karité de Côte d’Ivoire (FIKA-CI), the Ivorian shea producers association, to strengthen its member services through direct communications support and to encourage members to pay their dues. On November 30, Jessie LaFourcade, met with the president of FIKA-CI, Fatoumata Camara, and general secretary, Edwidge Hammond to assess ...Read more
- September 19, 2016 Through an agreement signed September 8 with Trade Hub, the regional Coris Bank group—with subsidiaries in Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Togo, and soon Benin and Senegal—will award up to $17 million in loans for business expansion of small and medium processors and exporters working in cereals, cashew, shea, and other value chains. The Trade ...Read more
- July 18, 2016 Hundreds of shea collectors in Ghana’s Northern and Upper East Regions are making the most of skills acquired through Trade Hub-supported trainings in business management, quality assurance, and cooperative management, conducted by the Global Shea Alliance (GSA). In early July, a Trade Hub and GSA monitoring and evaluation team visited nine shea warehouses in northern Ghana. ...Read more
- March 21, 2016 USAID West Africa’s Mission Director, Mr. Alex Deprez, announced March 21 that the West African mission and the Global Shea Alliance (GSA) will sign a new five-year agreement with 25 private sector shea organizations to build 250 warehouses throughout West Africa. They will also build the capacity of more than 130,000 women shea collectors and ...Read more
- March 4, 2016 In mid-January, the Trade Hub’s Grants and Capacity Building team traveled to Northern Ghana to visit women’s groups participating in a year-long Global Shea Alliance (GSA) warehouse sustainability training pilot, funded by a Trade Hub grant. During the week-long trip, the team visited these groups and toured their warehouses to measure the impact of GSA ...Read more