Sunday February 4, 2018
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Senegalese President Macky Sall (right) and French President Emmanuel Macron hug following Macron's speech in Saint-Louis, Senegal February 3, 2018. — Reuters picSenegalese President Macky Sall (right) and French President Emmanuel Macron hug following Macron's speech in Saint-Louis, Senegal February 3, 2018. — Reuters picDAKAR, Feb 4 — Donor nations announced yesterday US$2.3 billion (RM8.9 billion) in funding to support education in developing countries, following an international meeting in the Senegalese capital Dakar.

The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) — which brings together donors, international organisations and the private sector — called the figure “a substantial increase in funding” compared to the US$1.3 billion contributed over the past three years.

The developing countries themselves said they will increase their own public spending on education for the period 2018 to 2020 to a total of US$110 billion, compared to US$80 billion for the previous three-year period.

“I am energised by the generosity and determination we have seen here today to ensure every child and young person has access to a quality education,” said former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who chairs the GPE board.

“After today’s commitments, we are seeing a clear trend to seriously address the global learning crisis,” she added, in the statement released after the talks in Dakar wound up on Friday.

At the meeting, French President Emmanuel Macron, co-hosting the event with Senegalese counterpart Macky Sall, announced that France’s contribution over the three-year period was rising to €200 million from €17 million for 2014-2017. 

The biggest donors were Britain, with a pledge of €417 million, followed closely by the EU with Norway the third-largest donor with €260 million.

“The unprecedented support” means the GPE can continue to focus on the most excluded and vulnerable children and work to extend assistance to up to 89 countries,” said the group’s chief executive officer Alice Albright.

Also present in Dakar was global singing star Rihanna who vowed on Friday she would “never stop fighting” to get millions of children back in school.

“This is a fight we are never going to stop fighting, until every boy and every girl has access to education,” said Rihanna, who attended as the organisation’s global ambassador. — AFP

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