Global Shea Alliance

Speeches Shim

The shea industry in West Africa is rapidly expanding. Demand for shea produced in the region has grown by 600% over the past 20 years, and shea is now an important ingredient in food and cosmetic products worldwide. The industry is centered on women; more than 16 million rural women in Africa contribute to their household incomes by collecting and processing shea kernels.


The Global Shea Alliance (GSA) was established in 2011 to help build a more competitive, sustainable, and profitable shea industry. It serves 706 members from 36 countries around the world, including women’s groups, brands and retailers, suppliers, national producing associations, and non-profit organizations. The GSA promotes shea industry competitiveness and improves the livelihoods of rural African women and their communities.

The GSA supports members to implement industry-wide collaborative solutions to challenges facing the shea supply, develops industry-recognized quality standards, shares best practices with members, conducts research and advocacy to promote shea, and opens new markets for shea products.


In 2016, the GSA launched the Sustainable Shea Initiative with funding from USAID. The partnership matches USAID funds with private sector and donor funding to implement its activities and promote global demand for shea in food and cosmetics.


  • Facilitate 1,191,710.28 MT of shea exports with a value of $360,763,559.
  • Facilitate investment of $7,530,000 in the shea sector.
  • Donate 334 warehouses for women shea collectors and processor groups.
  • Increase income of shea collectors by $7,442,625.
  • Create 14,000 full time equivalent jobs.
  • Plant 500,000 new trees and protect 10,000,000 existing trees. 


The GSA, through the Sustainable Shea Initiative, has expanded the worldwide market for shea through media promotion, international events, and policy advocacy. It has trained more than 200,000 women shea collectors on cooperative and business development, resulting in the formation of 277 cooperatives. With access to 264 donated warehouses, improved conservation techniques and operating as structured micro-businesses, the cooperatives are linked to purchasers or traders of shea kernels and/or butter.  Between June 2016 and March 2021, the GSA facilitated the export of 529,772MT of shea products worth over $311 million.

In 2020, the GSA launched the Action for Shea Parklands initiative aimed at planting ten million shea trees in ten years – a response to the continuous destruction of shea parklands. The initiative will mobilize industry efforts including private sector, donors, non-profits, government agencies and shea producing communities.

More Information

Life of Program: 2016 - 2024

Total USAID Funding: $8,529,743.94

Geographic Scope: West Africa: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, and Togo

Key Funding Partners: USAID, private sector, and NGOs

Issuing Country 
Wednesday, September 22, 2021 - 6:30am

Last updated: September 22, 2021