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The annual African Global Economic and Development Summit 2017 at the University of Southern California, that brings delegations from Africa to meet with business leaders, government officials and others in the U.S., ironically had no Africans, as every African delegate was denied visas.

Mary Flowers, chair of the African Global Economic and Development Summit, estimated that she had probably lost over 100 attendees, including speakers and government officials.

“I have to say that most of us feel it’s a discrimination issue with the African nations,” Flowers said, VOA News reported. “We experience it over and over and over, and the people being rejected are legitimate business people with ties to the continent.

“Usually we get 40 percent that get rejected but the others come,” she said. “This year it was 100 percent. Every delegation. And it was sad to see, because these people were so disheartened.”

Flowers also reportedly stated that those who were denied visas were called for embassy interviews just days before they were supposed to travel, despite having applied weeks or even months ahead of time.

One of those denied a visa was Prince Kojo Hilton, a Ghanaian artist whose work includes special effects and graphic art. He paid his $500 fee to attend the event and was asked to lead a session on filmmaking.
“I was really disappointed when I went to the embassy,” Hilton told VOA.

Some of the countries affected included Sierra Leone, Guinea, Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia and South Africa.

Jeweler Carries Tradition from Grandmother

After years of watching her West African grandmother craft together jewelry for African royalty, heavily sought-after Nigerian jeweler Anita Quansah is now making big waves in the fashion industry.

Designing eye-catching statement pieces for such celebrities as Alicia Keys, Nicki Minaj and Thandie Newton and collaborating with big fashion names such as Christian Lacroix, Quansah has now launched her own brand: Anita Quansah London.

“I wanted to design jewelry that tells a story of celebration of my culture, craftsmanship, uniqueness, diversity. Of happiness and joy,” Quansah said.

Kenya, Britain Begin Trade Negotiations

As Britain prepares to formally leave the European Union (EU), informal trade plans between Kenya may be underway.

Compelled to devise new ways to maintain its market share in the EU and in Britain, with Britain enjoying a 20 percent share in Kenyan exports, Kenyan officials may need to renegotiate the trade deals, Xinhua News Agency reported.

“We have started talks with U.K. officials as part of ensuring we have maintained our market once the country formally leaves EU,” said Chris Kiptoo, principal secretary for the state department of trade in the ministry of industry, trade and co-operatives in Kenya. “The talks are going on at both ends, but formal discussion will start once U.K. formally exits EU.”

Britain is fourth in terms of export destination of Kenyan goods, after Uganda, the Netherlands and the United States.

Lauren M. Poteat

Lauren Poteat is a versatile writer with a strong background in communications and media experience with an additional background in education and development.

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