By Fred Obera (March 21st 2017) – Africans delegates were denied visas to attend a trade meeting of the African Global Economic and Development Summit by the U.S. government. The countries affected included Nigeria, South Africa, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Ghana and Guinea. This year’s meeting was quite peculiar as there were no Africans in attendance.
African delegates were denied visas to attend a trade meeting of the African Global Economic and Development Summit at the University of Southern California. The summit brings participants from African countries to meet business leaders, government officials and other stakeholders and interest groups in the United States.
The visa denial has been heavily criticised, seen as the latest episode by U.S. president Donald Trump administration.
The two day’s summit, which started on March 16th to 18th 2017 was meant to promote bi and multilateral foreign direct investment, international trade, cultural exchange and tourism with the 54 individual countries in Africa and it was the first time that the event went on without Africans.
Voice of America reported that most of the delegates denied visas include government officials, prominent business leaders and young entrepreneurs from Africa and the organizers termed the move as purely discrimination against Africa.
“I have to say that most of us feel it’s a discrimination issue with the African nations. We experience it over and over and over, and the people being rejected are legitimate business people with ties to the continent,” Mary Flowers, who chairs the African Global Economic and Development Summit, told the VoA.
According to Flowers sentiments, this year was the worst summit in terms of attendance since African delegates were denied visas to attend their own meeting in the U.S., given that usually 40 percent normally get rejected in previous meetings but this year it was 100 percent denial, and the affected included the summit’s key speakers and panelists.
Reports said that the delegates who were denied visas were called to the U.S. embassy interviews a day before the event despite having applied several weeks or even months ahead of their traveling dates. The countries affected included Nigeria, South Africa, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Ghana and Guinea.
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