IFC invests €2.5 million in Mali to boost Shea butter production
London, July 12, 2019 (AltAfrica)–IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has announced an investment of up to €2.5 million in Mali Shi to help build the only active modern shea butter processing plant in the country.
The plant will increase incomes and market access for about 120,000 shea kernel producers in Mali, over 95 percent of whom are women.
Mali, the world’s second-largest shea supplier, accounts for nearly 20 percent of the global shea supply.
More than 1 million of rural harvesters in Mali, majority of whom are women, are involved in shea nuts collection. However, its shea processing industry is not yet modern.
The project will help Mali develop a shea processing industry capable to produce and export shea butter, a cocoa butter equivalent, meeting the high-quality demands of the international food and cosmetic industries.
IFC is providing Mali-Shi a loan of €2.5 million from its own account and as the implementing entity for the Private Sector Window of the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), which allows IFC to invest in riskier projects with strong development impact.
“IFC’s partnership with Mali-Shi will help develop a shea processing industry and introduce international best practices in the sector, increasing incomes and access to markets for the country’s smallholder farmers”, said Aliou Maiga, IFC’s Director for West and Central Africa. “The project also demonstrates how the World Bank Group can support the private sector in delivering impact in the world’s most challenging markets.”
The investment will be accompanied by an advisory program that will build the managerial and financial capacity of more than 100 harvesting cooperatives in Mali Shi’s supply chain. IFC will also help Mali-Shi improve safety standards, energy efficiency, traceability and environmental and social management.
Simballa Sylla, the Managing Director of Mali Shi said: “IFC’s long-term financing and technical assistance will help us meet international standards in an industry where our international clients’ quality requirement is very high.”
The shea sector in Mali will be supported by World Bank projects to improve farmers’ access to markets and improve quality of shea nuts through technical training.
“This project will boost economic opportunities and generate more revenues for women shea collectors. Unlike most agricultural cash crops, women have traditionally retained control of revenues from the sale of shea nuts and butter, which benefits their families and communities. The World Bank leverages its projects to provide funding and technical training, thus contributing to women’s empowerment in rural areas,” said Soukeyna Kane World Bank Country Director for Mali “
IFC’s investment in Mali-Shi was also supported by the Conflict Affected States in Africa Initiative (CASA), backed by Ireland, the Netherlands, and Norway.