At this year’s African Global Economic and Development Summit organized by the University of Southern California, there were no delegates from African nations.
Because President Donald Trump’s “Muslim Ban 2.0” denied each and every one of them visas to enter the United States.
The summit aims to promote business ventures in Africa and supports global initiative to provide clean energy, tackle climate change and reduce poverty. The event is opened to corporations, entrepreneurs and civic and political leaders in the U.S. and delegates from all over Africa who come to exhibit projects in need of financial or technical help.
But this time around, more than 100 attendees, including speakers and government officials from countries including Sierra Leone, Guinea, Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa, were unable to attend the March 16-18 summit — something that Mary Flowers, chair of the summit, claims is unusual.
“Usually we get 40 percent that get rejected but the others come,” said Flowers. “This year it was 100 percent. 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,” she added. “We experience it over and over and over, and the people being rejected are legitimate business people with ties to the continent.”
Flowers said those denied visas were called in for embassy interviews just days before they had to travel despite of the fact they applied months ahead of time. Flowers called the State Department to inquire why the visas were denied but they refused to answer giving her their age-old excuse: They do not discuss individual visa cases.
What’s even stranger is the fact that none of the countries mentioned above are included in Trump’s list of banned countries. Yet all people were denied entrance to the country anyway.
Still, it’s not surprising considering the number of people banned from the country in the past two months.
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