Transforming shea: empowering women and boosting Nigeria’s non-oil exports

May 27, 2024

Transforming shea: empowering women and boosting Nigeria’s non-oil exports

May 27, 2024

In Nigeria, shea butter is more than just a commodity; it’s a beacon of potential for economic growth and social change. Known as the world’s leading producer of shea nuts, Nigeria stands at the forefront of a transformative project aimed at enhancing shea butter processing and boosting non-oil exports. This initiative is not only about improving economic outcomes but also about empowering the hardworking women who are the backbone of the industry.

Launch and branding

May 3 marked a significant milestone with the official launch of a new business model and branding, developed in collaboration with Levitate, a local design firm. The new branding elegantly combines abstract shea leaves, the vibrant colours of the Nigerian flag, and symbols of sustainability, encapsulating our vision for a revitalised shea sector that promises both growth and sustainability.

Empowering women in the shea industry

At the heart of the shea sector are the women who collect and process shea nuts into butter. Traditionally, while women handle the production, men dominate the trading and profit margins. Our project, which we execute on behalf of CBI, aims to disrupt this status quo by enhancing women’s roles not just as employees but as proprietors and decision-makers. By shifting focus from raw shea nuts to processed shea butter and cosmetics, we open up new opportunities for these women to earn fair compensation and gain substantial economic empowerment.

Nigerian women

Overcoming challenges

Navigating the complexities of local dynamics has been challenging. However, with concerted efforts and international collaboration, we are making headway. The support from the director of the Nigerian Export Promotions Council (NEPC) – an initiative that is part of boosting Nigeria’s exports, and enhancing the export potential for non-oil products – and positive feedback from our partners at CBI during recent meetings has been invaluable. These engagements have strengthened our resolve and enhanced our strategies for overcoming obstacles.

Digital strategy and future plans

An essential component of our strategy is the development of a website for the Shea Nigeria Business Cluster, crafted in partnership with Levitate. Inspired by the successful structure of LebFresh, this platform will serve as a crucial tool for communication, member engagement, and marketing. Additionally, our collaboration with the NEPC is set to enrich our content with valuable export data and insights, essential for attracting global markets.

With every step, we are closer to transforming the shea sector into a more profitable and equitable industry. The progress made thus far promises a brighter future for the hardworking women in the shea industry and Nigeria’s economy at large. We invite you to join us in supporting this vital initiative, as we continue to break barriers and create value from our rich natural resources.

Together, let’s empower and elevate the shea butter industry in Nigeria to global heights.

Shea butter and nuts

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