French President Macron and Rihanna Join Forces for Education

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Dakar — The pair urged world leaders and donors to scale up support for schooling

Emmanuel Macron and Rihanna may not usually move in the same circles, but the French president and pop star joined forces on Friday to champion education for the world’s poorest countries.

The pair urged world leaders and donors to scale up support for schooling at a financing conference of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) in Senegal’s capital Dakar.

“This is a fight that we are never going to stop fighting until every boy and every girl has access to education,” said Rihanna, GPE’s global ambassador, to wild applause.

The Barbadian singer also called out presidents on Twitter – where she has 86 million followers – to honour their commitments in the lead-up to the summit.

Merci @emmanuelmacron for stepping up to co-host @GPforEducation’s Financing Conference in Dakar! Will France 🇫🇷 pledge €250M for @GPforEducation tomorrow? @claralionelfdn @glblctzn 🌍 – Rihanna (@rihanna) February 1, 2018

“Supporting education is not a choice we can make or not make, it is a necessity,” said Macron, who co-hosted the event with Senegal’s president Macky Sall.

GPE aims to raise $3.1 billion over the next two years to ensure access to classrooms for 870 million children in 65 developing countries.

About 264 million children worldwide are missing out on school, according to the partnership. But the share of global aid going to education has been shrinking for over a decade, said the ONE campaign, a global advocacy organisation.

“Dakar should be a turning point for access to quality education,” said ONE’s president Gayle Smith in a statement.