On Thursday, January 28, 2021, ownership of the A Rocha Ghana shea butter processing facility and eight warehouses was transferred to nine shea cooperatives in the West Gonja District in the Savannah Region of northern Ghana. The new facilities are part of a U.S. Government effort to partner with communities, companies, and non-profit organizations in West Africa to expand economic opportunities for women. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) developed the facilities in partnership with the Global Shea Alliance (GSA) and Evolution of Smooth, a U.S. cosmetics brand. The facilities will increase incomes for 1,000 Ghanaian women who collect and process shea nuts. The project was also supported by two NGOs, A Rocha Ghana and Noé, both focused on the sustainable management of environmental resources.
U.S. Ambassador to Ghana Stephanie S. Sullivan applauded the project’s partners, stating, “These shea processing facilities directly support women with safe working environments. Providing them with productive tools and ongoing skills training shows our commitment to partnerships that lead toward economic empowerment and self-reliance.”
Shea is a primary source of livelihood for women living in northern Ghana and is one of the few agricultural crops where women control their revenue. This project affirms the U.S. Government’s commitment to promote women’s economic empowerment through partnerships that connect Ghanaian women producers with U.S. buyers.
“USAID is working with the Global Shea Alliance, communities, non-profit organizations, and responsible companies, who together since 2016 have provided 219 warehouses, generating increased incomes for more than 189,020 women across West Africa,” Ambassador Sullivan noted.
The Global Shea Alliance’s Sustainable Shea Initiative was launched in 2016 in partnership with USAID. The $18 million, five-year program promotes the sustainable expansion of the shea industry in Ghana, Benin, Ivory Coast, Togo, Mali, Nigeria, and Burkina Faso. The partnership matches USAID funds with private sector and development partner funds to provide needed skills training and infrastructure to support women shea collectors.