New visa restrictions for the US affect 1 in 4 Africans

Lagos, capital of Nigeria, the strongest African economy

Lagos, capital of Nigeria, the strongest African economy

  |  REUTERS

Trump's new visa restrictions for the United States include four African countries, including the continent's largest economy, Nigeria

The lives of 300 million Africans will be seriously affected by the new visa restrictions for the United States imposed since last Friday by the Trump administration. According to an article in The New York Times, the ban on travel to the United States was imposed on four African countries: Sudan, Tanzania, Eritrea and the largest economy on the black continent, Nigeria.

With this measure, a quarter of the African population of 1.2 billion people will be affected. That is, 300 million people. One in four Africans.

A year after the Trump administration announced that one of the pillars of its strategy was to contain the growing influence of China and Russia in Africa, through the expansion of economic ties with the black continent, the new visa policy means a setback on that path and a violent slamming of doors on the largest African economy, Nigeria.

In addition to the four African countries, the new air restrictions will also apply to Myanmar, a country accused of genocide against its Muslim population, and Kyrgyzstan, a former Soviet state.

In Africa alone, the ban will prevent 300 million people from traveling freely to the United States. But America's image on the black continent will also be damaged. "Chinese, Turkish, Russian, and British firms, backed by their governments, are staking positions on a continent that will define the global economy's future", analyzes, in statements to The New York Times, W. Gyude Moore, from the Center for Global Development, a group of researchers.

The rationale for the new restrictions varies depending on country, but the White House announcement said that the six countries added to the list did not comply with identity-verification and information-sharing rules. Nigeria, moreover, poses an increased risk of harboring terrorists who may seek to enter the United States, argued the Trump administration.

But international policy analysts argue that America risks leaving as a loser. Nigerians are among the most successful and highly educated immigrants to America

Washington's previous restrictions, put into effect in 2017, were applied to Muslim countries as part of Donald Trump's plan to keep out "radical Islamic terrorists". This legislative package affected more than 135 million people, many of them Christians, from seven countries.

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