The 2017 edition of the African Economic and Development Summit on trade, held in the United States, came off with no Africans in attendance.
The University of Southern California each year hosts the African Economic and Development Summit, bringing delegations of African business leaders, government officials and others to network with their counterparts in the U.S.
But this year, the summit has no Africans.
The delegation of over 100 invited guests from Ghana, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Nigeria, Ethiopia and South Africa were all denied visas.
Chair of the Summit, Mary Flowers, told the VOA these denials have negatively affected the conference.
She said the visa denials made it difficult “and challenging for us to connect.”
The Summit Chair does not understand why all the delegates were denied visas to enable them attend the event.
She, however, believes the controversies surrounding the travel bans imposed by President Donald Trump may have played a part in the visa refusals.
She appealed to current and former lawmakers, including former congresswoman, Diane Watson to intervene.
On her part, Diane Watson insisted the visa refusals have everything to do the discriminatory policies of the Trump administration.
“There are ambassadors that were scheduled to be here at this summit that were denied visas; as you know, under the current administration they are limiting the number of people who come from the continent of Africa into America,” she told the VOA’s Michelle Quinn.