The African Global Economic and Development (AGED) Summit happened over the weekend at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, United States. The annual gathering is intended to be an occasion where business leaders from Africa and the United States meet to discuss economic strategies. This year’s turnout was noticeably different, however, as there were no Africans in attendance at the meeting.
Whereas in previous years, around 40 percent of delegates were denied visas, this year, no visas were granted in the days leading up to the summit says Mary Flowers, chair of the committee. According to Flowers, “around 100 guests, from Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and South Africa, were unable to attend.”
“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,” says Flowers.
When questioned about the sweeping rejection of African visitors, The State Department responded that they could not comment on individual cases, reports Indy 100.
Though it’s unsettling that a meeting focused on the economic affairs of the continent could occur without any African representatives present, it’s certainly not the first time that something like this has happened—which is perhaps what’s most alarming.
— Yvonne Orji (@YvonneOrji) March 19, 2017
Let's be honest, wouldn't be for first time The west has made decisions about Africa without Africans 😑
— Michelle2020 👊🏾 (@BeLikeAudrey) March 19, 2017