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:
360 members from 25 countries

Key Funding Partners:
USAID; ICCO (Dutch church-based aid organization)

The shea industry in West Africa is rapidly expanding. Demand for shea butter produced in the region has nearly doubled in the past ten 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 over 360 members from around the world, including the world’s leading buyers of shea kernels and butter, traders, processors, service providers, women’s groups, international brands and retailers, and non-profit organizations.

Major Initiatives:
Sustainability: Supporting GSA members to implement industry-wide collaborative solutions to challenges facing the shea supply.
Quality: Developing industry-recognized quality standards and sharing best practices with members. 
Traceablilty: Facilitating purchases between collector groups and kernel buyers to improve linkages and encourage faster processing.
Advocacy: Working to modify and enforce international food standards that will open new markets for shea products.

Best Practices: In 2014, more than 30,000 shea collectors were trained in, and are now using, best practices in collection, processing and storage. The trainings were done in collaboration with the six national associations of Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire, Mali and Nigeria.

Sustainability: In 2014, the Global Shea Alliance launched its sustainability program. Over 25 GSA members have registered as sustainability partners and are undertaking projects to build warehouses for shea collectors, improve health and safety practices, and improve shea tree populations.

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 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: November 20, 2015

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