The financial powerhouse that is The Bahamas

Image source: lom.com

The Caribbean is home to the leading financial centers in the world today. Among the nations scattered across the region is the Bahamas, an internationally recognized powerhouse in the finance, banking, and wealth management industries. In fact, premier international investment firm LOM Financial has active operations in the country.

Aside from being well-known as a tax-efficient jurisdiction, there are several reasons why the Bahamas remains a trusted destination for the world’s financial services sector. One of them is its strategic location that gives the country a major advantage compared to other offshore financial centers in the world.

The Bahamas is located just miles from the east coast of the United States, so it’s basically in the same time zone as New York. Since it’s situated at the crossroads of America, it is an ideal hub even for businesses and investments in Canada as well as Central and South America.

The Bahamas is also a favored destination by Ultra High Net Worth individuals who seek to efficiently and comfortably manage their wealth not only for their present but for the next generation. Moreover, it’s a prime location for corporations and global businesses in terms of ownership of intangible assets.

It’s not just the financial policies that make this archipelagic state attractive. All credits go to its stable political and economic climate. Investors understand the value of progress and stability when it comes to success in the financial market, and the Bahamas is an independent nation with an uninterrupted rule since 1973.

What makes the Bahamas different from other financial centers is its government’s focus on promoting an economic environment where free enterprise can confidently flourish. One perfect example is its National Investment Policy, specifically structured to provide investment-friendly facilities and generous incentives for both domestic investors and international clients looking for offshore investments.

Why invest in emerging markets today

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While developed countries as a whole have been suffering from disappointing stagnation and slow growth for several years now, experts are seeing a huge potential in the emerging economies from the developing world to progress and soon take the lead in the global equities market arena. This is perhaps the primary reason why major investments firms, including offshore mutual fund providers like LOM Financial, built portfolios around emerging markets.

With such unpredictable improvement, many young and seasoned investors ask the same questions: should you put your money and invest in the emerging markets? More importantly, are the risks from investing in these emerging economies worth their potential returns?

It’s true that many analysts consider emerging markets (EM) to be risky and pondering on whether to put your trust in the new players in the market should always be your first step. However, it should also be pointed out that many successful investors got to where they are now by taking on equally risky yet calculated decisions.

The truth is, there’s quite a number of developing nations that are starting to thrive in this high-growth environment, promising higher returns than their developed counterparts – and these are not just opinionated predictions but from observable statistics. In fact, recent reports have shown that EMs are responsible for delivering 50 percent of the developed market’s trade.

In addition, the current performance of the emerging market’s equity valuations has been outstanding, recording a long-term average price-to-earnings ratio around 25—a leap from its 2017 cyclically-adjusted P/E ratio of 13.

However, the most persuasive yet often undervalued feature of EM lies in its demographics—bigger, younger and greater consumption. This is because an estimated 80percent of the world’s youngest consumers live in developing countries, promoting optimistic economic growth compared to developed and aging nations.

REPOST: The Most Competitive Countries in Africa, 2017

Africa is yet to reach the pinnacle of its economic aspiration, but the continent is fast becoming a major player in world economics. Here are the region’s most competitive countries as published on The African Exponent:

Below is a list of the 10 most competitive African countries, as measured by the World Economic Forum’s annual Global Competitiveness Report. Mauritius, South Africa, Rwanda and Botswana come out on top.

Mauritius, South Africa, Rwanda and Botswana come out on top.

Although Mauritius ranks first among African countries, it is still only at number 45 in the global index. Mauritius’ success is credited to its ability to streamline its goods market, build solid infrastructure and promote a healthy workforce.

South Africa and Rwanda also do very well and have improved their global ranking since 2015. Their continued growth can be attributed to the uptake of technology, efficient financial markets and a focus on strengthening institutions.

Below is a list of the 10 most competitive African countries, as measured by the World Economic Forum.

REPOST: Countries With The Most UNESCO World Heritage Sites

UNESCO World Heritage sites are major attractions that fuel a country’s tourism sector. In fact, they are sometimes the sole reason why international visitors would willingly endure miles upon miles of travel only to witness such marvels right before their eyes. Lucky for the countries below, as listed by WorldAtlas, for they possess not just one, but multiple Heritage Sites:

The Amalfi Coast is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Italy. Italy counts more UNESCO sites than any other country.

Before we get into the countries with the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites, let’s look at what is required for a site to be one. There are six criteria for cultural sites which are:

-Represents a masterpiece of human creative genius.
-Exhibits an important interchange of human values.
-Bears a unique testimony to a cultural tradition of a civilization.
-Is an outstanding example of a architectural or technological ensemble throughout history.
-Is an outstanding example of traditional human settlement or interaction with the environment.
-Is tangibly associated with traditions, ideas, beliefs, and works of universal significance.

There are four criteria for natural sites which are:

-Contains superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty.
-Has outstanding examples that represent the major stages of earth’s history.
-Is an outstanding example of significant on-going ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of land and sea communities of plants and animals.
-Contains the most important natural habitats for conservation of biological diversity.

Countries with the Most UNESCO World Heritage Sites

The top ten countries with the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites all have their own unique reasons as to why they are in the top ten.

U.S.A.
The United States has many cultural sites mostly thanks to a rich indigenous history. These sites include places such as Taos Pueblo. It also has some sites from the 19th and 20th centuries, such as the Statue of Liberty. Most notably, the United States has some of the most natural World Heritage Sites due to its vast size, varied climates, and national parks. These include sites including the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone National Parks.

Russia
Russia has a number of sites due to a mixture of its rich history and large geographical size. Russia has several cultural sites dating from its past history when it was part of the Russian Empire, such as the Kremlin and Red Square. Russia, like the United States, has a great deal of natural sites due to its immense share of the global map, including the Golden Mountains of Altai.

United Kingdom
The United Kingdom has a number of culturally important sites from its past Roman occupation and from its own past as a global spanning empire. Some of these included the Frontiers of the Roman Empire and the Tower of London.

India
India was home to some of the oldest civilizations on Earth, seeing the rise of many empires and dynasties, and serving as the birthplace for several major religions, including Sikhism, Buddhism, and Hinduism. India has many natural sites including the Taj Mahal and the Elephanta Caves.

Mexico
Mexico was the home to two important past civilizations, the Maya and Aztecs, as well as some of the earliest sites of European colonization of the New World. Some cultural sites in Mexico are the Historic Center of Puebla and the Pre-Spanish contact city of Teotihuacan.

Germany
Germany has a number of cultural sites from its history with the Roman Empire and the later being at the center of the Holy Roman Empire and the German Empire. Some sites included the Wartburg Castle and the Cologne Cathedral.

France
France has a long history stretching back to the Frankish tribes during Roman times and as well as the powerful French Empire and its powerful monarchs. France has many cultural wonders such as the Cathedral of Notre Dame and the Palace of Versailles.

Spain
Spain, much like Germany, France, and the United Kingdom, has a past history involving the Roman Empire and as a powerful world spanning empire of its own. Some cultural sites in Spain including the Roman Walls of Lugo and the Burgos Cathedral.

China
China is the birthplace of one of the oldest civilizations in the world and many different dynasties that have come and gone. China is home to many different cultural sites, including the Great Wall of China. China also has many natural sites, since like Russia and America it is a big country. One of these natural sites is the Chengjiang Fossil Site.

Italy
Italy has the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites of any country in the world, due to its history as the birthplace of the Roman Empire and the Renaissance. Some of the cultural sites in Italy include the Villa Romana del Casale and the Castel del Monte.

Continue reading HERE.

Countries with the highest level of income equality

The Gini Index, also known as the Gini coefficient is one of the measures of income equality (and inequality) among populations in a city or a country. According to experts, it’s meant to represent not only the income but also the wealth distribution of a nation’s citizens.

However, it’s important to take note that wealthy regions do not automatically get a positive Gini Index. Recently, a new report was released and it revealed the world’s top countries with the highest level of income equality in the world.

Here are the Top 4:

  1. Norway
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Among the European countries, Norway ranks second in terms of GDP per capita and today, it’s one of the wealthiest countries on the planet with the highest standard of living. However, it’s not the top in terms of income equality, securing “only” the fourth spot in this ranking, with a Gini Index of 26.8%.

  1. Czech Republic
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The country is known for its developed and high-income economy, boasting a GDP rate of 87% (based on European Union average).  As a former Communist state, Czech Republic is surprisingly more prosperous and stable in terms of economic performance, thanks to its healthy export relationship with other EU nations like.

The citizens of the country enjoy a relatively equal income distribution with a Gini index of 25.9%.

  1. Slovenia
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Slovenia has the richest developed economy among the Slavic countries. In 2007, it introduced the Euro as its currency, and has been a member of the the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) since 2010.

Currently, it has a 25.7% Gini Index and second in the ranks for the most equal in the world in terms of wealth distribution.

  1. Ukraine
Image source: kyivpost.com

The country is considered as an emerging free market, with a fluctuating but consistently active economy. After its recovery from the 2008 financial crisis, it started its upward climb again only to suffer another loss in 2013.

However, its economic woes did not stop it from dominating the list as the country with the highest level of income equality with a Gini index of 25.5%.

REPOST: Richest 1% own half the world’s wealth, study finds

The world’s wealth is exponentially growing, but exactly how much of the world’s population has access to such riches? According to the following article from The Guardian, about half of it belongs to only 36 million people:

The Credit Suisse report found 2.3 million new dollar millionaires were created over the past year, taking the total to 36 million. Photograph: Carl Court/Getty Images

The globe’s richest 1% own half the world’s wealth, according to a new report highlighting the growing gap between the super-rich and everyone else.

The world’s richest people have seen their share of the globe’s total wealth increase from 42.5% at the height of the 2008 financial crisis to 50.1% in 2017, or $140tn (£106tn), according to Credit Suisse’s global wealth report published on Tuesday.

“The share of the top 1% has been on an upward path ever since [the crisis], passing the 2000 level in 2013 and achieving new peaks every year thereafter,” the annual report said. The bank said “global wealth inequality has certainly been high and rising in the post-crisis period”.

The increase in wealth among the already very rich led to the creation of 2.3 million new dollar millionaires over the past year, taking the total to 36 million. “The number of millionaires, which fell in 2008, recovered fast after the financial crisis, and is now nearly three times the 2000 figure,” Credit Suisse said.

These millionaires – who account for 0.7% of the world’s adult population – control 46% of total global wealth that now stands at $280tn.

At the other end of the spectrum, the world’s 3.5 billion poorest adults each have assets of less than $10,000 (£7,600). Collectively these people, who account for 70% of the world’s working age population, account for just 2.7% of global wealth.

Continue reading HERE.

Ranking the world’s most efficient cities of today

In the modern world, great cities are defined not only by their economic and cultural wealth but also by their efficiency and how they can respond to the needs of their population through facilities, services, and technological advances aimed to achieve one common goal: good quality of life.

Thanks to the wonders of science and technology, modern cities have gone beyond and explored more possibilities to further serve and build their communities one vision at a time. Let’s take a look at the world’s most efficient cities and discover what they have in common.

  1. Vienna, Austria

For the eighth time, Vienna ranked atop the Mercer’s list of the world’s most livable cities in 2017, recognizing the city’s effort to provide the highest quality of life in terms of socio-economic and political stability, public services, transport and medical services, education and recreation, housing and infrastructure, and most importantly, its natural environment.

  1. Vancouver, Canada

This Canadian city is second on this list because aside from winning one of the top ten spots in Mercer’s list, it has consistently played an important role as a major Canadian gateway to the Asian pacific regions. Its ports are rich and experience an enormous volume of transshipment traffic that contribute to the region’s booming economy. Aside from advocating a clean and green way of living, many communities in Vancouver enjoy safe and secure transportation facilities, and great educational services.

  1. Zurich, Switzerland

This Swiss city boasts a thriving metropolis, highlighting both modern and a classic way of life and living. Their clean streets as well as reliable access to transportation services are just two of the many factors that won Zurich its rank. As the second in Mercer’s list, Zurich also ranked as the one of the best cities preferred by expats, thanks to its highly-developed infrastructure and stable economy.

 

REPOST: The 15 Best Cities In The World For Art

Planning to do ‘art tourism’ somewhere abroad? For the best experience, The Culture Trip suggests going to any of these superb cities:

Whether home to stunning public sculptures, world-renowned art galleries or a burgeoning street art scene, these cities scattered across the globe are the ideal destination for any self-professed lover of art. We tour some of the most vibrant art scenes in the world from familiar hotspots like Paris to up-and-coming arty hubs like Mexico City and Lagos.

Paris, France
With over 1,000 art galleries spread across the city, Paris is an art lover’s mecca. From iconic art museums like The Louvre – home of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, and a must-do on any art fan’s bucket list – and veteran contemporary galleries like Galerie Daniel Templon to relative newcomers like La Maison Rouge and Modus Art Gallery and the vibrant street art in Paris’ Belleville neighborhood, there’s art to be found around every corner in The City of Light.

The Louvre Museum is one of the world’s largest museums and the most popular tourist destinations in France | © pichetw/Shutterstock

New York City, USA
Manhattan alone is enough to keep art mavens occupied for days with world-famous institutions like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, MoMA and the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Guggenheim Museum – a work of art itself – alongside art gallery hotspots like Chelsea, but to ignore New York City’s other boroughs would be a crying shame. Head to Brooklyn’s Bushwick neighborhood for street art and cutting-edge contemporary galleries showcasing emerging talents and don’t miss out on Queens for the Socrates Sculpture Garden and Queens Museum.

The Charles Engelhard Court in the American Wing of Metropolitan Museum of Art | © Anton_Ivanov/Shutterstock

Tokyo, Japan
While some cities may have more or less defined art districts, Tokyo’s differs in that its galleries are spread far and wide across the sprawling metropolis, but they’re certainly worth the trek. A good place to start is Roppongi – home to the Mori Art Museum, National Art Center and smaller spaces like Ota Fine Arts – while over in Taito, SCAI The Bathhouse, a contemporary gallery in a 200-year-old former public bathhouse, is one of Tokyo’s most prestigious art destinations.

São Paulo, Brazil
It might not boast the arty acclaim of Paris and New York, but Brazil’s sprawling megalopolis São Paulo is the art capital of Latin America. Beyond the venerable São Paulo Biennial, the world’s second oldest art biennial after Venice, the city is also home to the Museu de Arte Moderna where visitors can see modern and contemporary Brazilian art and a garden home to 30 outstanding sculptural works, while galleries like Choque Cultural offer a glimpse into local, emerging talents.

Continue reading HERE.

 

How geography designs the world’s economic policies

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The economic and political growth of every great civilization depended on their proximity and access to trade routes, mostly maritime, that helped their empire prosper for hundreds or thousands of years.  Compared to their non-coastal rivals, their strategic location had given them a natural boost to expand and protect their empire from several forces that caused the downfall of other, less-blessed nations.

History tells us that geography plays a vital role in understanding how our planet’s material character and spatial organization can contribute to a country’s political and economic development. The insights derived from this understanding can be greatly relevant especially to decisions and policy-makings involving trade, governance, and most importantly, the relationship and processes within the local and global economy.

This is why experts in the field have emphasized how consulting publications and related studies can give authorities awareness of problems and issues that policy-makers face today. By revealing the effects of the changing spatial organization, authorities are informed of present problems and alternative solutions that offer practical and long-term benefits.

Image source: geography.name

The number and specificity of policies and institutions of countries depend on where they are in the world and the climate that they have to endure. It’s natural and proper to strengthen environmental movements and environment-centered guidelines on countries located in the tropics where land is hostile and water is scarce. It’s also not a coincidence that the richest and most powerful nations in the world are located in the fertile, temperate and rainy European regions.

Experts have also readily identified the capacity of different regions to support modern economic growth and how specific locations can be at a disadvantage in terms of productivity from local and international trade.

China is a perfect example of nations that benefit from having a politically and economically strategic location because of its access to markets.  In fact, the nation is a home to three of the planet’s busiest and most hectic ports.

Lastly, specific geographical locations offer natural resources available for capitalization and because of the combined factors of both a nation’s position on the map and its climate, many countries have advantages over the others. Saudi Arabia and the UAE make their money from the natural supply of oil in their deserts while South Africa leads the world’s largest gold and diamond supply. Top of Form

Three emerging metropolises that will drive global growth in the future

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The rise of global cities has provided a sturdy foundation for startups and entrepreneurs to seek greater heights, building a haven for companies and investors from all over the world with two important goals: create business opportunities and encourage technological innovations to grow and prosper not only for the present but also for the years to come.

As homes to the primary international leaders in knowledge and business, these mega cities serve as the melting pots of ideas, cultures and leading economic and technological advances. Some of these leaders come from the most powerful countries in the world like New York, London, Hong Kong, and Tokyo and they have topped charts and have been undefeated for consecutive years.

However, many cities are starting to follow their footsteps and are rapidly emerging as the new players in the global city rankings, thanks to their dynamic market and highly-skilled talent pool. Here they are:

Myanmar’s Yangon

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This Southeast Asian city is the most populated region in Myanmar and analysts have observed that it has also one of the fastest growing economies in the country. Yangon’s vibrant and dynamic charm as a tourist destination isn’t the only thing to be celebrated about. Many investors have shown interest in this rising metropolis where culture and innovation blend perfectly well and the city, in response, opened up to foreign investments in 2011.

Nigeria’s Lagos

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As the largest city in Nigeria, Lagos holds the most number of population—making it a contender in the global economic race in terms of business and innovation. In fact, it has become a financial hub of the entire continent, alluring multination companies to its shores. Ironically, it’s not like its other counterparts because instead of being a business center, it’s actually a home to “Nolywood,” the region’s biggest film industry, making it a top entertainment hub in Africa.

Chile’s Santiago

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Santiago is an emerging startup hub in Chile and is one of the most important cities in South America. Reports have recorded a 600% increase in GDP from 1988 to 2017, thanks to a huge number of startups in Santiago. It’s ‘Chilecon Valley’ is a harbor for international entrepreneurs because of its diverse and talented population.