'Africa Rising'? Not really, unless we invest more in girls

Children pose in a classroom at the Friendship Primary school in Zinder, Niger, on June 1, 2012.

Story highlights

  • June 16 is the Day of the African Child
  • Johnson Sirleaf: Governments must ensure that spending on education is prioritized
  • She says investing in girls' education is not only a moral imperative but also a smart investment

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is the president of Liberia and a Nobel Peace Prize winner. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely hers.

(CNN)What factor has the power to transform individual lives, communities, nations and the world?

The answer to this complex question is a simple one: education. While it is widely accepted that there is no one solution to lift the millions across our globe out of poverty, it is also equally accepted that a key cornerstone of addressing some of the world's most pressing challenges is through providing a quality education to all children, especially girls.
Despite increasing numbers attending school in recent years, 126 million children remain out of primary school and lower secondary school around the world. Some 65 million of these children are girls.