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Rapper Jay-Z has been honored by the United Nations for his humanitarian work in Africa.

The performer and president of Def Jam Records was praised for his work when he attended the United Nations Global Leadership Awards Gala in New York on Wednesday. He recently returned from Africa, where he has invested heavily in programs to supply clean water.

“Many charities, you close your eyes and cross your fingers and hope that the money gets to the people who really deserve it,” he told People Magazine. “But with this, I got to go to Africa, see the water pumps. I got to see the kids turn them on.”

The rapper first visited Africa in 2006, and recorded an MTV documentary of his visit called “The Diary of Jay-Z: Water for Life.” Since then he has been paying for PlayPumps water systems to be installed in African villages where clean water was not available.

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