Ebola outbreak: Brazilians cancel Namibia visit over Ebola fears, despite conference being 3,000 miles from disease hotspot

Concerns that Ebola is fuelling old 'Africa the country' stereotypes

Brazilian executives have cancelled a visit to Namibia over fears about Ebola, despite the centre of the outbreak being almost 3,000 miles away.

A spate of boycotted conferences and visits has prompted criticism of international ignorance and the persistent perception of “Africa the country”.

Namibia’s Chamber of Commerce was expecting a delegation from Brazil in the capital Windhoek this week, which is closer to Rio de Janeiro (as the crow flies) than to Guinea, where Ebola has killed more than 400 people.

“We're so far from West Africa,” said an employee. “Did these people not have a map?”

Tarah Shaanika, chief executive of Namibia's Chamber of Commerce, said he found the apparent ignorance of Africa's size and diversity being demonstrated over Ebola “offensive”.

Video: Health workers risking lives to contain Ebola

“People must understand Africa is a continent, not a country,” he said.

A state of emergency has been declared in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, allowing the countries to impose travel restrictions and quarantine measures in a bid to stop the disease spreading further.

The outbreak has so far killed more than 1,100 people and there is no confirmed cure or vaccine.

Being spread only by direct contact with the bodily fluids of those infected, the risk of transmission outside those countries is low but fear of the disease is having an impact on travel to several African states.

Despite the lack of any confirmed cases in Kenya, Korean Air suspended flights to Nairobi last week.

In Ghana, the government has suspended international conferences that “have the potential of spreading the Ebola virus" for three months.

Other cancellations and moves include an Association of African Central Banks meeting in Equatorial Guinea this month, a gathering of land surveyors in Lagos, Nigeria, and a managers' meeting of chocolate maker Barry Callebaut scheduled in the Ivory Coast.

Temperature-screening passengers for Ebola in Nairobi, Kenya Temperature-screening passengers for Ebola in Nairobi, Kenya As well as the potential toll on developing economies, some see the epidemic reviving stereotypes about poverty and disease that the African continent had been shaking off with foreign investment.

Dianna Games, chief executive of consulting company Africa@Work, said: ”Poverty, war and disease, those were the kind of three planks of the darkest Africa narrative and in a way this has revived a little bit of that.”

Additional reporting by Reuters

Read more:  'Plague villages' set up to contain virus emulate methods of medieval Europe
Affected countries should give 'exit screenings' for travellers, says World Health Organisation
University campuses on alert as new term begins
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
Tim Sherwood raises his hand after the 1-0 victory over Stoke
footballFormer Tottenham boss leads list of candidates to replace Neil Warnock
Arts and Entertainment
L to R: Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Captain America (Chris Evans) & Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in Avengers Assemble
film
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Sport
Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
footballManchester United set to loan out Januzaj to make room for Bale - if a move for the Welshman firms up
News
i100
Travel
Suite dreams: the JW Marriott in Venice
travelChic new hotels in 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Day In a Page

Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015
Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall