Colombian singer Shakira announced on the eve of the Americas Summit her alliance of foundations to fund quality education for low-income children.

The alliance, which will invest $24 million during the first two years, comprises the superstar's Pies Descalzos foundation, the Colombian Culture Ministry and several other NGOs.

"It's an alliance specifically for the construction of 13 early-education centers that will benefit 6,200 kids with quality teaching," Shakira said at an event in Cartagena's Bicentenario neighborhood.

The artist, a native of the nearby city of Barranquilla, stressed the importance of the alliance, which is already instructing children under six, "the most important years in human life, the ones that most shape their future," she said.

At that age "the child's brain, cognitive and motor faculties and the ability to form relationships with others begin to develop, so we're convinced that we have to invest in them, the earlier the better," Shakira said.

The 13 educational centers will be built in the Colombian provinces of Bolívar, Cundinamarca, Magdalena, Atlantico and Choctó, all with high rates of extreme poverty.

Shakira planned to present the joint projects on Friday to an audience of executives and politicians at the Business Forum leading up to this weekend's gathering of heads of state in Cartagena.

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