The entire delegates invited to attend the University of Southern California’s African Global Economic and Development Summit 2017 in the United States have been denied visas.
This was disclosed to the Voice of America by the chairperson of the Summit, Mary Flowers, who said about 100 guests including speakers and government officials from Sierra Leone, Guinea, Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia and South Africa were all denied visas.
“Usually we get 40 percent that get rejected but the others come … This year it was 100 percent. Every delegation. And it was sad to see, because these people were so disheartened,” she said.
Africa forms part of the countries where visa applications to the United States are denied the most, according to public data from the U.S. State Department.
“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 added.
The Summit on Africa scheduled for March 16 was cancelled due to the lack of Africans, and the State Department was not available for comments.
Africans have been facing difficulties acquiring visas to the United States years before President Donald Trump’s executive order restricting people from six mainly Muslim countries including Somalia, Libya and Sudan from entering the country.
The order was blocked by a judge after it sparked protests in January; and later a revised order was also blocked hours before it was due to come into effect.