Rihanna, Macron champion education funding at forum

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — Singer Rihanna and French President Emmanuel Macron were headlining a meeting in Senegal on Friday raising money for education in poor countries.

Cheers and whistles rang out in the conference center in Senegal’s capital, Dakar, as Rihanna was announced.

Rihanna tweeted “merci” to thank Macron for co-hosting the Global Partner-ship for Education conference as part of his two-day trip to Senegal.

Macron called education “the only single response” to the extremism and fundamentalism threatening the West Africa region. He promised 200 million euros ($248 million) for the fund, sharply upping France’s earlier offer, and urged others to pitch in toward the 3.1 billion euro overall goal.

Macron hosted Rihanna at his presidential palace last year after she challenged him on Twitter to contribute to her efforts to fund education in developing countries, notably in conflict and crisis areas.

The singer also urged other Western leaders, including British Prime Minister Theresa May, to contribute at Friday’s conference, and funding promises poured in from multiple countries. The Barbados-born Rihanna’s The Clara Lionel Foundation promotes education and arts globally.

The French president also met Friday with Senegalese President Macky Sall and was inaugurating a school.