US Africa summit without Africans
A summit in the US to discuss sustainable development in Africa had no African delegates because they had all been denied visas to enter the country, it was reported yesterday.
About 100 Africans were barred from entering the US to attend the African Global Economic and Development Summit, which takes place every year at the University of Southern California, The Independent reported.
It said the summit was intended to encourage US businesses to invest in Africa, particularly in support of clean energy, to tackle the effects of climate change and to reduce poverty.
The event was open to entrepreneurs, corporations, and political and civic leaders in the US, and previously delegations from all over Africa had attended to showcase projects in need of technical help or investment.
Summit chairman Mary Flowers, speaking to Voice of America, said: “Usually 40% [of the visitors] are turned down but the others come. This year it was 100%. Every delegate.
And it was sad to see because these people were so disheartened. “I have to say that most of us feel it is 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 those denied visas were speakers and government officials from South Africa, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, she said. Flowers told Voice of America that those who were denied visas were called for embassy interviews days before they were to travel, despite having applied long in advance.