The US Ambassador to Ghana Stephanie S Sullivan has led a ribbon cutting and inaugurated a shea butter processing facility that will support increased economic opportunities for 600 Ghanaian women who collect and process shea nuts
The USA government, through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), supported the construction of the processing facility and warehouse located in Gizaa-Gunda, northern Ghana.
Shea is a primary source of livelihood for women in northern Ghana and is one of the few agricultural crops where women control the revenue. This event highlights efforts to promote women's economic empowerment through partnerships that connect Ghanaian women producers with the US buyers.
The partnership to develop the shea butter processing facility and warehouse was catalysed by USAID and the Global Shea Alliance (GSA) and included partnerships with a US cosmetics company, a local buying company (Savanna Fruits Company), Presbyterian Agricultural Services (PAS) and the local community as part of the Sustainable Shea Initiative (SSI) project.
The SSI was launched in 2016 by USAID in partnership with the GSA. It is a US$18mn, five-year partnership to promote the sustainable expansion of the shea industry in Ghana, Ivory Coast, Togo and Burkina Faso.
The partnership matches USAID funds with the private sector and donor funds to provide needed skills training and infrastructure to support women shea collectors.
The Gizaa-Gunda facility is one of 34 warehouses that USAID and GSA have launched with communities and cooperatives in Ghana over the past three years, expanding opportunities for 30,000 women.
Overall, SSI is expected to deliver 250 warehouses across West Africa, facilitating more than US$150mn in shea exports and benefitting more than 137,000 women.