Global Shea Alliance


Design, develop, and deliver strategies that drive a competitive and sustainable shea industry worldwide, improving the livelihoods of rural African women and their communities.

Geographic Scope:

350 members from 25 countries

Key Funding Partners:

USAID West Africa Trade Hub; ICCO (Dutch church-based aid organization)Geographic Scope: 350 members from 25 countries


The shea industry in West Africa is rapidly expanding. Demand for shea butter produced in the region increased by more than 1,200 percent over the last 10 years. The industry is centered on women; more than 16 million rural women in Africa contribute to their household incomes by collecting shea nuts.  
The Global Shea Alliance (GSA) was established in 2011 to help make the shea industry more competitive, sustainable, and profitable for its workers. It has over 350 members from around the world, including the world’s largest buyers of shea nuts and butter, traders, processors, service providers, women’s groups, international brands and retailers, and non-profit organizations.

Major Initiatives:

• Quality Control: The Global Shea Alliance works to improve the quality of West African shea products through developing training materials that demonstrate best practices in post-harvest shea nut processing and handling. 
• Standards: Developing industry recognized quality standards for shea nuts.
• Traceablilty: Facilitating purchases between collector groups and shea nut buyers to promote traceability and encourage faster processing.

Best Practices:

In 2013 more than 12,000 shea nut collectors were trained in, and are now using, best practices in collection, processing and storage. The trainings were done in collaboration with the national associations of Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, and Cote d'Ivoire.
Sustainability: In partnership with over 100 stakeholders, including international food and cosmetic brands, the Global Shea Alliance is developing a sustainability standard for members that will address the declining quality of shea nut production, limited access to markets for shea nut collectors, and declining numbers of shea nut trees in West Africa.

Industry Promotion:

The Global Shea Alliance expands the worldwide market for shea through media promotion, international events and policy advocacy.
Collaboration: The Global Shea Alliance partners with and supports national seed associations in six countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Nigeria) in order to leverage public and private sector resources to improve the competitiveness and sustainability of each country’s shea industry.



Last updated: August 06, 2014

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