Monday, July 15

Global Shea Alliance, Mastercard Foundation engages stakeholders in shea industry

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A consultative stakeholders’ learning event for key players in the shea industry has been held in Tamale.

It offered the platform for learning and experience sharing on quality and standard shea production to improve the shea industry and create more jobs as well as other business opportunities in northern Ghana.

This forms part of the implementation of the Shared Business Empowerment Project being carried out by Global Shea Alliance, in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation among other consortium partners such as SOFTtribe, Advans, Women for Change, Agrocenta and Nuts for Growth.

The event attracted key stakeholders in the shea industry including women and young people in the Northern Region.

Mr Aaron Adu, the Managing Director, Global Shea Alliance, speaking at the event, said it was to encourage the youth, especially women, to venture into shea production to create dignified jobs and business opportunities.

He said the shea industry was endowed with profitable opportunities, which when maximised, could contribute to reducing unemployment in the country.

He said Global Shea Alliance, under the partnership, set out to create 30,000 dignified and fulfilling jobs in northern Ghana, and reported that 32,000 jobs had been created so far after two and a half years of implementation.

He advised youth groups, cooperatives, small and medium-sized enterprises and individuals to prioritise joining the shea industry to enhance economic transformation and improve their livelihoods.

Mr Gottfried Odamtten Sowah, the Acting Head, Entrepreneurship Development, Mastercard Foundation, expressed the preparedness of the Foundation to support in creating employment opportunities.

Three million dignified jobs had already been created with 70 per cent being women as part of its young African work strategy.

He said the needs of the youth in the country were not homogeneous and called for more sustainable investment in the youth space to address issues of youth unemployment in the country.

Madam Zakaria Fatima, Secretary, Boribijerisuli Cooperative Shea Processing Centre, who shared her experience, said adequate investment in the shea industry was a viable option to encourage young people into the sector.

She said the laborious system of shea production was not profitable and sustainable enough thus making the sector a preserve for poor and older women.

Miss Vanessa Ivy Dodoo, who served as an intern at the Shared Business Empowerment Project, recounted her experience with women at Gushegu Shea Cooperative Association.

She said technological support and adequate facilities, especially in the rural communities, would help make shea production more attractive to the youth.

Meanwhile, prior to the learning event, a team from the Global Shea Alliance, Mastercard Foundation and partners inaugurated an ultramodern shea processing centre for Boribijerisuli Shea Cooperative Association, and an early childhood development centre for the children of the women, who would be working at the processing centre at Nwodua in the Kumbungu District of the Northern Region.

The centre would benefit about 13 communities including Kumbungu, Sagnarigu and Tolon districts in the Northern Region.