USAID Helps the Shea Industry Grow

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Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire – More than 400 individuals representing every aspect of the shea industry are gathered in Abidjan for Shea 2014: The Industry Unites, the annual conference of the Global Shea Alliance. From March 24 to 26, 2014, experts will present the latest information on industry trends, production techniques and the international market for shea, as well as practical information about the shea business.

“The U.S. is committed to supporting sustainable, broad-based economic growth in West Africa, and we are very proud of our support to the Global Shea Alliance through the U.S. Agency for International Development,” said U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission in Côte d’Ivoire, Cheryl Sim at the conference opening.  “Shea is a critical industry that touches the lives of millions in rural communities here in Côte d’Ivoire and across Africa. The Global Shea Alliance is demonstrating that an important first step to alleviating poverty is getting all those with vested interests in the shea industry together to address the challenges of rural communities.”

Shea nuts have been traded regionally for centuries, and today, about 400,000 tons are exported annually from West Africa, primarily for use as shea butter, a food ingredient. In the last 25 years, shea fat has also been used in cosmetic products.

The Global Shea Alliance, co-founded by the USAID/West Africa Trade Hub in 2011, is a private sector-led coalition of more than 350 dues-paying members from 25 countries.  Its primary goals are to promote and expand the market for shea internationally, to establish quality standards and increase competitiveness in the industry, and to foster industry sustainability by empowering women collectors and protecting ecosystems. USAID continues to support the Alliance, which includes leading retail brands, shea butter manufacturers, research institutions, ministries, regulatory bodies, and shea butter producers and exporters.

NOTE TO EDITORS:   

The goal of USAID in West Africa is to promote social and economic well-being advanced by West Africans.  Spanning 21 countries, the USAID/West Africa regional office designs and implements programs with West African partners to strengthen systems of non-violent conflict management, support economic growth, and expand quality health services. The American people, through USAID, provide economic and humanitarian assistance in more than 100 countries worldwide.

For more information please visit http://www.usaid.gov/west-africa-regional.