A shea butter processing facility to support increased economic opportunities for 600 Ghanaian women who collect shea nuts has been inaugurated by the United States Ambassador to Ghana, Ms Stephanie S. Sullivan, at Gizaa-Gunda in the Northern Region.
The United States government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), supported the construction of the processing facility and warehouse located in the area, a media release said.
Shea is a primary source of livelihood for women in northern Ghana and it is one of the few agricultural crops where women control the revenue.
“The United States supports key projects like this to promote economic growth and job creation in Ghana so that young people may build a future of prosperity here at home for the benefit of all citizens and their communities,” Ambassador Sullivan said during the inauguration on Thursday, March 14, 2019.
The inauguration highlights efforts to promote women's economic empowerment through partnerships that connect Ghanaian women producers with US buyers.
The partnership to develop the shea butter processing facility and warehouse was catalysed by USAID and the Global Shea Alliance (GSA), and included partnerships with a US cosmetics company, a local buying company (Savanna Fruits Company), Presbyterian Agricultural Services (PAS), and the local community, as part of the Sustainable Shea Initiative (SSI) project.
The SSI was launched in 2016 by USAID in partnership with the GSA. It is an US$18 million, five-year partnership to promote the sustainable expansion of the shea industry in Ghana, Ivory Coast, Togo and Burkina Faso.
The partnership matches USAID funds with private sector and donor funds to provide the needed skills training and infrastructure to support women shea collectors.
The Gizaa-Gunda facility is one of 34 warehouses that USAID and GSA have launched with communities and cooperatives in Ghana over the past three years; expanding opportunities for 30,000 women.
Overall, SSI is expected to deliver 250 warehouses across West Africa, facilitating more than US$150 million in shea exports and benefiting more than 137,000 women.
The United States looks forward to finding more opportunities over the next year to partner with companies, communities and non-profits to drive new opportunities for Ghanaians and promote a path to self-reliance and resilience.
The USAID/West Africa regional mission’s goal is to promote social and economic well-being advanced by West Africans.
Spanning 21 countries, USAID/West Africa designs and implements programmes with West African partners to strengthen systems of non-violent conflict management, support economic growth and expand quality health services.