Global Shea Alliance

Speeches Shim


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 400 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. It promotes shea industry competitiveness and improves the livelihoods of rural African women and their communities.


  • 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 in six countries were trained in, and are now using, best practices in collection, processing and storage. Between August 2014 and March 2016, the GSA facilitated the export of 121,000 MT of shea nuts worth $43 million.

Sustainability: In 2014, the GSA launched its sustainability program and in June 2016 signed an agreement matching $6.5 million USAID funds with $6.5 million GSA funds from 25 private sector sustainability partners.  This partnership will result in 250 shea warehouses, capacity building for 137,500 women shea collectors and processors and a 50 percent improvement in financial benefits to participating shea cooperatives.

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, Côte 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.


Mandate: Through public-private partnerships, the GSA promotes industry sustainability, quality practices and standards, and demand for shea in food and cosmetics

Key Funding Partners: USAID; ICCO; private sector shea firms

Geographic Scope: 400 members from 31 countries