City News

International energy conference in Madison scrapped after speakers denied visas

Madison will no longer host the US-Africa Energy Summit 2017 later this month, after several of the event’s speakers were denied entry to the country.

Image By: Nick Monfeli

An international energy conference scheduled to be held in Madison this month has been cancelled after the Trump administration denied several key Africa-based presenters visas to enter the country.

The US-Africa Energy Summit 2017, organized by the UW-Platteville International Business Center, was set to take place at the Monona Terrace Sept. 18 and 19. After the Department of Homeland Security denied visas to several speakers from countries including Botswana, Ghana and South Africa, the event was indefinitely postponed Wednesday.

A nonimmigrant visa allows for temporary visits within the U.S. for tourism, business, school or work. It stipulates  applicants meet a list of requirements before obtaining their visas. Those requirements have become stricter under Trump.

Numerous prominent figures in the energy field were slated to present at the conference, including U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., and Alliant Energy President Patricia Kampling.

Some city officials, including city council Vice President Samba Baldeh, spoke out against the cancellation.

It would have offered African firms and investors “the means to seriously address the perennial shortage of electricity supply in their respective countries,” she said.

The visa block is a broad policy that “isolates the U.S. from the business and culture of the rest of the world,” Baldeh added.

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