Shea-based cosmetic producers in Ghana and across the continent have been urged to comply with local and international standards in order to increase their competitiveness.
This will also help them break into international markets, where substantial market opportunities exist for the entire shea value chain, especially for women.
This came to light during a regional training and validation workshop on increasing Export Quality and Competitiveness in the Shea-based cosmetics sector in Africa, held in Accra.
The workshop falls under the Capacity building for export competitiveness of women-led PMEs and standards promotion in cosmetology sector in Africa project – championed by Global Shea Alliance (GSA) and the African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO).
It is funded by TradeCom II PMU under the European Development Fund, at the request of GSA and ARSO and seeks to promote shea exports for cosmetics in regional and international markets, and the uptake of standards for cosmetology.
It also aims to contribute to sustainable economic development, job creation and poverty reduction in Africa Programme.
“With respect to shea, substantial market opportunities exist to improve women-owned businesses incomes through value-added products targeted at regional and international markets. However, small cosmetics businesses face many constraints including a lack of training and information, market visibility, regional and international market linkages and the ability to meet certification requirements,” said Riccardo Tintis, Programme Manager at TradeCom II.
Through this programme, he said the potential for export business creation will be unlocked, allowing women led cosmetic SMEs to innovate and enter niche markets.
In the meantime, exporting SMEs will benefit from knowledge on good practices and available information from new opportunities generated by regional and global trade integration.
Additionally, by focusing on women in the informal and formal economy and stimulating regional inclusive growth, it is expected that the project will contribute to a fairer income repartition and poverty reduction amongst vulnerable population in West Africa.
“There is also a need to develop harmonized standards to mainstream cosmetology and wellness into the formal economy of African countries and to give the sectors the impetus for consideration as viable economic activities,” he indicated.
This, Mr. Tintis added, will further stimulate cosmetic product consumption, ensure the safety of cosmetics on the market, as well as, facilitate building professionals who can trade their services beyond their localities.
The set objectives of the project are to, among other things: support for trade enhancement and export-readiness for women-led small cosmetics producers and exporters in West Africa improve export capacity of women-led shea cosmetic companies; catalogue safety and health concerns as well as African standards and trade concerns related to cosmetology and wellness and; support regional integration through the application of harmonised standards and conformity assessment procedures in cosmetology in Africa.
It also aims to enhance and improve awareness on the benefits of standards in the cosmetology and wellness sector in relation to trade requirements, as well as, develop procedures to promote standards and conformity assessments for cosmetology and wellness.