The Shea Business Empowerment Programme (SBEP), launched by the MasterCard Foundation in conjunction with the Global Shea Alliance (GSA), aims to transform and integrate new concepts into the country’s shea value chain.
The project’s objectives include making it easier for cooperatives and small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) to access financing, offering business coaching and entrepreneurship support, and utilising digital technologies to improve traceability and market connections throughout the shea value chain.
By removing significant bottlenecks in the value chain, the $5.7 million programme aims to provide 90,000 job possibilities for women shea collectors, processors, cooperatives, and SMEs in the northern region of the country.
Additionally, it would assist 300 SMEs and 150 shea cooperatives in enhancing their business capacity, gaining access to financial instruments, and removing gender-related obstacles including the absence of childcare options for women in the shea value chain.
A group of organisations, including Women for Change, Agrocenta, Softribe, and Nuts for Growth Advans Ghana, would carry out the three-year project.
Rosy Fynn, the Country Head of the MasterCard Foundation, stated that the programme would introduce innovations into the collection, processing, and marketing of shea products to increase the economic benefits for the various actors, particularly women.
According to her, the country’s shea value chain, which is dominated by women, offers a significant opportunity to combat poverty and remove systemic hurdles that prevent young women from the sector from realising their full economic and social potential.
“Through this partnership, we are fostering collaboration among experienced ecosystem actors to strengthen the shea value chain and encourage women to transition their informal ventures into viable and sustainable business enterprises, which will automatically create a positive effect in their families and communities,” Ms Fynn noted.