Injaro invests in Sekaf, a Ghanaian Shea Natural Cosmetics Company

October 29, 2013

Injaro Agricultural Capital Holdings Limited (“Injaro”) announces an investment in Ghana’s shea sector. Injaro has signed an agreement to invest in Sekaf Ghana Ltd. (“Sekaf”), a Ghanaian owned and operated natural cosmetics company producing shea-based skin and hair care products.

Sekaf’s product portfolio contains shea butter based soaps, lotions and oils for the hair and body. Shea Butter is a natural product made from the nuts of the shea tree that protects, moisturizes and repairs the skin and hair. It is known to local people as a medicine for the skin and is recommended for lip care, sun exposure, dry and sensitive skin, and scalp treatments.

Injaro is providing the growth capital that Sekaf needs to expand operations in Tamale in the Northern Region of Ghana. Sekaf’s products are currently marketed under the “TAMA” brand and the partnership with Injaro will enable Sekaf implement a world-class system for processing, packaging, and distributing TAMA products. Sekaf also procures commodities such as cashew nuts, shea nuts, sesame seed, soya beans and specialty fats for commercial customers.

Sekaf’s story has evolved over the past decade. The Company’s objective is not only to deliver high quality, affordable shea-based bath and beauty products to its customers but also to ensure that they are sourced through an environmentally friendly and ethical supply chain which provides sustainable employment for women in some of the poorest parts of Ghana. Sekaf aims to always produce cosmetic products that have a therapeutic effect on customers.

The shea tree is unique to Africa, with a total of 20 shea producing countries in the Sahel region. However, the eight major producing countries are in West Africa namely Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote D’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Nigeria and Togo and these countries account for 97% of total shea collection for export. The value of the shea tree lies within the nut that is produced, which is rich in edible oils and fats found in the processed shea butter.

Locally, shea butter, also known as women’s gold, is used in food, traditional medicines, lamp oils and ceremonies such as weddings, birthdays, and funerals. Internationally, 90% of shea demand is accounted for by the specialty fats industry, mainly to be used as a Cocoa Butter Equivalent (CBE) in the production of chocolate; the other 10% is accounted for by the cosmetics industry. Less than 50% of shea nuts are processed on the continent – representing a lost opportunity for job creation and incomes for local populations.

Co-founder of Sekaf, Michael Bulla, said “for the past few years the Company has been looking for the right partner to help take the business to the next level. Sekaf was not only interested in finding a partner that would provide capital and technical expertise, but also one who would share in the Company’s vision to alleviate poverty in Ghana through job creation.” Senyo Kpelly, CEO and Co-founder of Sekaf added, “With Injaro, we will add value to shea butter locally and manufacture high quality products with significant concentrations of shea butter. Sekaf has already demonstrated a consistent commitment to sustainability, equity, empowerment and quality. Sekaf has set up a women’s shea butter co-operative that enables members to increase financial literacy and improve unrefined shea butter quality as well as increase their bargaining power. The Company will also work on creating year round income earning opportunities for shea collectors.”

Mirabelle Moreaux, Investment Officer of Injaro added, “We are incredibly excited about Sekaf because Ghana has a competitive advantage in producing shea and the sector is an important employer for women in rural northern Ghana. In the next four years, Sekaf’s growth is expected to create over 250 permanent jobs in the factory and for shea butter processors as well as over 5000 seasonal jobs for the women who collect the shea nuts every year. By using hand-crafted butter from nuts that are sourced directly from the women collectors, Sekaf is able to spread monetary gains to the smallest actors in the shea value chain.”

Jerry Parkes, CEO of Injaro added “Sekaf has a strong core team in place. We will continue to help them find the right calibre of people to contribute to unlocking the Company’s potential.”