The three-day African Global Economic and Development Summit conference took place at the University of Southern California with no delegate from Africa taking part. At least 60 attendees were denied visas for the annual trade summit, report The Guardian. Many are asking questions if the visa denials were as a result of Donald Trump’s anti-immigration policies which has put travel bans against 6 countries with majority Muslim population.

The yearly summit brings together delegates across Africa to meet with US business leaders in other to foster partnerships. According to Mary Flowers, the organizer, between 60 to 100 people across Africa were denied entry visas to the US. The summit however took place with a small number last Thursday to Saturday.

According to Flowers, most of the rejected participants had already registered for the event and even paid their initial visa fees. Their visa applications were rejected after short interviews even though they brought along necessary documents like bank statements and property records.

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Flowers said it is not the first time participants have been denied visas. About 40% of interested participants had been denied visas in the past. But this year’s 100% denial was shocking as total participants were between 50-75 instead of the expected 150-200 who usually attend.

A similar incident occurred on February 26, 2017 when a 28-year-old software engineer from Lagos Nigeria was grounded at the airport for a work trip. He was asked a series of questions by custom officers and later taken to a room where he was given a piece of paper and pen to answer questions to proof he was a software engineer. This happened with no guidelines on how to answer.

According to Flowers, such restrictive policies could hurt trade opportunities between the US and African businesses.

Source(s): The Guardian