A US-Africa energy summit scheduled for later September has been cancelled after African invitees were denied US visas, organisers said on Wednesday.
A notice to prospective attendees said the fully booked two-day event would not take place “because of the denial of US visas to the vast majority of registered African participants, which, as a result, defeated the purpose of the summit and made it untenable”.
Olivier Kamanzi, the Rwandan head of the Chicago-based Africa Global Chamber of Commerce, was among the scheduled speakers at the summit set to take place in Madison, the capital of the state of Wisconsin.
The ambassadors to the US from Botswana, Ghana and South Africa were also listed as speakers, along with the coordinator of former President Obama’s Power Africa programme.
“This is part of a broad policy of the Trump administration to deny, stall and obstruct visa requests regardless of their source,” said Samba Baldeh, a native of Gambia and an elected official in Madison.
“These denials are for everyone, from visits from a member of an immediate family, to former heads of state.”
The inability of most invitees from Africa to obtain US visas “squandered a great opportunity for energy-deprived nations to work with advanced energy providers of the US and Wisconsin,” Mr Baldeh added in comments reported by the Wisconsin State Journal.
“This policy isolated the US from the business and culture of the rest of the world.”