By Hassan Isilow
The Global Citizen Festival held in Johannesburg on Sunday raised 100 billion rand ($7.3 billion) in pledges from world leaders and organizations to end extreme poverty in Africa.
The festival -- which marked late President Nelson Mandela’s centenary -- brought together several world leaders and a group of talented artists and influencers.
Organizers said Mandela’s commitment to a better world motivated them to challenge world leaders to raise funds for improving education, fighting disease and extreme poverty.
“Dr. Jim Kim, on behalf of the World Bank Group, made a significant commitment of an additional $1 billion next year for the health and education in Africa,” organizers said in a statement on Monday.
The Global Citizen Festival is an annual music festival organized by the Global Poverty Project to end extreme poverty by 2030, one of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.
In a Twitter post, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his country places great importance to education and pledged $50 million for the cause.
Germany hopes for a future where people are no longer trapped by hunger, Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a message.
“Germany is one of the biggest donors to the International Fund for Agricultural Development. We will make €63 million available for this organization over the next three years,” she said.
Meanwhile, the host of the festival Motsepe Foundation pledged $104.4 million to advance education, economic inclusion, and equality of women and girls among others.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa committed 2 million rand ($146,000) for youths in the country and also announced that government would provide 6 billion rand (around $439,000) for the free education of the poor.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said in a video message that he would increase education funding in his country’s budget from 20 to 30 percent making it one of the highest on the continent.
A number of significant pledges were also made in the fight against HIV/AIDS.