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 most disadvantaged countries.
Rihanna traveled to Senegal as an ambassador for the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) in Senegal’s capital Dakar. Her visit today to the GPE Financing conference she delivered a speech on the impact of access to education. Rihanna and France’s Emmanuel Macron (who co-hosted the event with Senegalese President Macky Sall) urged world leaders and donors to scale up support for schooling.
“This is a fight that we are never going to stop fighting until every boy and every girl has access to education.”
Rihanna, GPE’s global ambassador
“Supporting education is not a choice we can make or not make, it is a necessity.
“President Emmanuel Macron
The Fenty Beauty business owner also called out presidents on Twitter – where she has 86 million followers – to honor their commitments in the lead-up to the summit.
Rihanna appeared before world leaders in a custom look from Ralph Lauren. Styled by Jahleel Weaver, the double-breasted suit with its subtle gray plaid pattern and loose fit was a conservative choice, ideal for meeting with heads of state. She wore her hair slicked back and minimal jewelry.
Rihanna was sharp and stayed on message during her time, by the end of her speech she received a round of applause.
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.