African Business Leaders Denied Entry Visas To Attend Business Summit In The US
Reports reaching us suggest that African delegates billed to attend an African business summit in the US were “all denied visas.”
The summit tagged the African Global Economic and Development Summit (AGED), which takes place every year at the University of Southern California had a zero attendance rate this year.
The summit was surprisingly quiet after about 100 attendees were denied entry into the United States to take part in the summit.
AGED summit aims to encourage businesses to invest in Africa and particularly to support initiatives to provide clean energy, tackle the impacts of climate change and reduce poverty.
This yearly event is usually opened to entrepreneurs, corporations and political and civic leaders in the United States.
Delegations from all over Africa come to showcase projects in need of technical help or investment to summit attendees.
Chairperson of the summit, Mary Flowers, speaking to Voice of America 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.
African Business Leaders Denied Entry Into The US
“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 African business leaders and delegates denied entry visas to attend the summit were speakers and government officials from Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Guinea and South Africa.
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.
According to her, it is unclear why visas were denied to them.
The US State Department as at the time of this report has yet to comment on the development.
Facts however reveal that visas are repeatedly being refused by US embassies.
Data by the US State Department compiled by The New York Times for the year 2015/16, shows Somalia, Ghana, Liberia, Guinea-Bissau and Mauritania all had a visa denial rate of more than 60 per cent.