Shea Butter

Côte d’Ivoire: Sustainably produced shea butter

Shea butter for the cosmetics
and chocolate industry


An important ingredient in cosmetics and chocolate

Shea butter is a vegetable fat obtained from the nuts of the shea tree, which is native to West Africa. The nuts are freed from the pulp, heated, and ground into a fatty mass. Shea butter is an ingredient in many cosmetics and can also be used in the production of chocolate, ice cream and other sweets after further processing. As a substitute or in combination with cocoa butter, it makes these products more heat-resistant and increases their shelf life.

Shea butter is sold worldwide. The most important markets are Europe, India, and Southeast Asia. Demand is increasing year-on-year. This is partly due to a trend towards sustainably produced cosmetic products and high-quality confectionery. Rising prices for cocoa butter have also led many manufacturers to use shea butter as an alternative.

However, before shea butter can be used in the production of cosmetics and chocolate, it must be cleaned and refined. Up to now, this processing step has mainly taken place outside the African countries where the shea nuts are harvested, for example in Malaysia or the Netherlands. The full economic potential of shea butter for Côte d’Ivoire can only be realised if this further processing can be gradually transferred there. This can also create additional income opportunities in rural regions where the shea tree is usually grown.


Eco-certified production in Côte d'Ivoire

Bio Amandes is a West African producer and processor of shea butter and exports its products to the Netherlands, France, Germany, Italy, Monaco and Switzerland. The company is based in Ferkéssédougou in the north of Côte d'Ivoire. Bio Amandes is the only producer in the region that is certified according to international organic and fair trade standards – ECOCERT and Fair for Life – and refines shea butter on site. This sets the company apart from its competitors. By refining the shea butter itself, Bio Amandes can offer it at competitive prices and the local added value creates jobs in Côte d'Ivoire.

Employees of Bio Amandes
© Bio Amandes // Employees of Bio Amandes.

Following a period of strong growth, the company is looking to expand further. In the medium term, the aim is to produce 2,000 tonnes of shea butter per year instead of the current 500 tonnes. Invest for Jobs is supporting the expansion in order to tap into the employment potential offered by the local processing of shea butter. A new oil mill and an additional plant for refining shea butter will be purchased as part of the expansion process. The latter removes impurities and unwanted flavours and odours from the shea butter – a process known as "deodorisation" - and ensures that the end product meets the high quality standards of customers, particularly in the cosmetics industry. The two plants will be housed in a new prefabricated production hall.


Jobs in rural areas

From 2025, 140 new jobs will be created to operate the expanded facilities in Ferkéssédougou – 30 full-time and 110 part-time positions. All employees will receive regular employment contracts and will thus also benefit from the statutory social benefits. These include regulations on health insurance, maternity protection, accident insurance and pension payments. Bio Amandes has also committed to strictly adhering to the labour standards of the ILO. Salaries will increase for the 28 people already employed by the company and they will be able to use the new canteen and recreation rooms. This will improve their working conditions. The 30 new full-time employees will be trained in the operation of the new machines. In addition, Bio Amandes will plant 2,000 new shea trees per year to be able to harvest enough shea nuts in the future.

Bio Amandes plans to invest a total of 4.14 million euros. The Facility Investing for Employment is providing a grant of 1.01 million euros (24%) to finance the acquisition of the oil mill.

The Facility Investing for Employment (IFE) of KfW Development Bank is part of the Special Initiative "Decent Work for a Just Transition" of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). With its support, the Facility wants to remove barriers that prevent the creation of new and better jobs in the private sector in the African partner countries.

Project details

Project status


Project locations

Côte d’Ivoire Ferkéssédougou

Project objectives

Job Creation Export Promotion Sustainable Agriculture



A project with




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Under the Invest for Jobs brand, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has put together a package of measures to support German, European and African companies in investment activities that have a high impact on employment in Africa. The Special Initiative "Decent Work for a Just Transition" – the official title – offers comprehensive advice, contacts and financial support to overcome investment barriers. The development objective is to work together with companies to create up to 100,000 good jobs and to improve working conditions and social protection in its African partner countries.

Partner countries: Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Morocco, Rwanda, Senegal and Tunisia.

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