30,000 women are expected to benefit from a new two-year initiative of the Global Shea Alliance supported by Invest for Jobs. The objective is to improve the capacity of women shea collectors in Ghana, boost the profitability of the sector and promote investment in the shea value chain.
An event was held in northern Ghana Tamale, on Tuesday 23rd March 2021, to officially launch the project. In attendance were high-level Government of Ghana representation, private sector firms, women-based shea cooperatives, and traditional authorities, as a show of support and endorsement for the project. “80% of Africa’s shea exports are currently sold as raw nuts to large industrial processors. I am optimistic that this project will equip our women collectors and processors to add value to the shea products which will translate to increased household income levels,” noted the Savannah Regional Minister, Hon. Saeed Muhazu Jibril, in an address to launch the project.
The Global Shea Alliance exists to design, develop, and deliver strategies that drive a competitive and sustainable shea industry worldwide and to improve the livelihoods of rural African women and their communities. This will be done in cooperation with other private sector partners. “The Global Shea Alliance represents a strategic partner in its leading role and effort to drive a more profitable shea industry, and we are delighted to partner with them to foster investments, overcome related challenges and create urgently needed local jobs particularly for women and youth in the North of Ghana,” highlighted the Head of the GIZ Ghana Employment Promotion Programme, which is part of Invest for Jobs, Mr Gerald Guskowski.
The project – a public-private partnership - has an objective to improve the capacity of women shea collectors in Ghana and boost profitability of the sector. It will also help remove identified investment barriers through improving product quality, facilitating direct sourcing and further developing other public-private partnerships. “Women cooperatives are key stakeholders in the empowerment agenda of the Global Shea Alliance. Participation by rural and urban women in the shea sector in general increases their economic independence through the income they generate from the activity,” explained the Managing Director of GSA – Mr. Aaron Adu in an address at the launch.
Over the two-year period, the partnership aims to reach 30,000 women beneficiaries, train 5,000 individuals and yield private investment of approximately 580,000 Euros. 10 new cooperatives will be created and 40 existing cooperatives will be strengthened to support the creation of over 350 new jobs.
For some women shea collectors, the project has come at a very critical period when global economies have taken a nose-dive due to the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, and with implications for households. “The training programmes under this project will help us treat our shea business as a serious one, once efficiency is achieved in the entire value chain; this means access to market for our products,” explained the Secretary of the Gbimisi Women Shea Cooperative – Madam Comfort Bugri. “We can now smile goodbye to post-harvest losses; we could also afford to support our households and pay our children’s school fees,” she added.
The successful applicants come from the sectors industry, education, and fashion. As part of Invest for Jobs, the Facility Investing for Employment (IFE) co-finances more than 6 million euros for their job-creating investments.
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