French President Emmanuel Macron couldn’t make it to the Global Citizen Festival in New York. (At least not this year!) But he did beam in from afar with an important video announcement for Global Citizens. 

In the video he reaffirmed France’s commitment to the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), which aims to raise $3.1 billion between 2018 and 2020 for global education initiatives in 89 developing countries. 

“I do believe that education is one of the great challenges of today,” Macron said in a video broadcast to 60,000 Global Citizens assembled in New York’s Central Park. “Together with President Macky Sall [of Senegal] we decided beginning of 2018 to launch a call for education and precisely to commit ourselves for the Global Partnership for Education.” 

“It’s all about education to help women to build their lives, to help people to have a decent life,” he added. 

This will mark the first time ever that an African nation (Senegal) and a G7 country (France) have worked together on ensuring funding for the Global Partnership for Education. 

Read More: For the First Time, an African Nation and G7 Country Will Team Up to Get Kids Back in School

Currently GPE is at $2 billion of its goal of $3.1 billion, leaving a sizable funding gap.

In February of 2018, France and Senegal will co-host the Global Partnership for Education Financing Conference in Dakar, Senegal. The announcement of this conference was first made at a high-level UN event on education. 

“That’s a huge challenge, but we have to do so,” Macron said. 

GPE, according to a video posted on their YouTube channel, aims for developing countries to earmark 20% of their budgets toward education. 

So far, the partnership has played a role in helping to raise primary school completion rates in countries affected by fragility or conflict from 58% in 2002 to 68% in 2014. 

The GPE also got a boost from 8-time grammy-winning singer, Fenty Beauty CEO, and Global Citizen Rihanna. Rihanna, who is also the global ambassador for the Global Partnership for Education, tweeted at Macron in June of this year to fund education through the GPE. 

Her initiative seems to be paying off, as are the more than 177,000 actions Global Citizens  took to advance global education in the lead-up to the festival. 

“Thank you for your emails, your calls, your tweets,” Macron said in the video. “I know how committed you are, I know how passionate you are and we need you, we need you for that.” 


Defeat Poverty

French President Emmanuel Macron Just Delivered an Important Message at Global Citizen Festival

By Phineas Rueckert