How does a summit designed for Africa hold without the key stakeholders in the continent. Well, sadly it did hold after about 100 attendees were barred from entering the country to attend the event.
Speaking to Voice of America, Mary Flowers, chairwoman of the summit said: “Usually we get 40 per cent that get rejected but the others come. This year it was 100 per cent. Every delegation. And it was sad to see, because these people were so disheartened.
“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.”
Among the people, who were not allowed to attend the event were speakers and government officials from Sierra Leone, Guinea, Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia and South Africa.
Ms Flowers said those who were denied visas were called for embassy interviews days before they were supposed to travel, despite having applied weeks or months in advance. It is unclear why visas were denied to them.
The African global economic and development summit, which holds every year at the University of Southern California aims to encourage businesses to invest in Africa and particularly to support initiative to provide clean energy, tackle the impacts of climate change and reduce poverty.
Since the assumption of office of the Trump administration, visas have been repeatedly denied by US embassies. According to the New York Times for the year 2015/16, Somalia, Ghana, Liberia, Guinea-Bissau and Mauritania all had a visa denial rate of more than 60 per cent.