World’s Most Powerful Passports

Passports (Baigal)The word passport is from the 1500 French terms passer and port which means authorization to pass through a gate of a city wall. A passport helps to travel across the world and allows holders to cross borders with ease. But some are more influential than others.

Financial firm Arton Capital has put together a ranking of the world’s most powerful passports which allows holders the most global mobility based on how many countries can be visited without a visa or by getting one upon arrival.

It comes to no surprise that developed countries with advanced economies have a distinct advantage. Is it because their holders are most likely to return home? Do countries want to invite holders to visit them and conduct business in their territory? Or are they afraid of the repercussions from prohibiting these visitors?

Tied for first place are U.S. and U.K. passports which give holders access to 147 countries. But the U.S. passport prohibits travel to countries they consider as states that sponsor terrorism such as Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria. And despite recent changes, Americans still face a lot of hurdles for travelling to Cuba.

Top-ranked passports are as follows:

Access to number of countries
U.S.; U.K. 147
France, South Korea, Germany 145
Sweden, Italy 144
Denmark, Singapore, Finland, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands 143
Switzerland 142


On the other hand, passport holders from emerging economies such as China and India are not as lucky with access only to 74 and 59 destinations respectively. But African and Middle Eastern nations have the least powerful passports:

Access to number of countries
Congo, Yemen, Central African Republic, Kosovo 41
Equitorial Guinea, Bhutan, Comoros, Burundi 40
Somalia, Eritrea 39
Afghanistan, Djibouti, Iraq, Ethiopia, Nepal 38
South Sudan, Solomon Islands, Palestinian Territories, Sao Tome and Principe, Myanmar 28


How Coke Uses Culture to be More Effective

By Josephine Tolosa

It’s been a few months since I moved to the United States from the Philippines and as I adjust to differences in culture and language, I cannot help but compare the subtle differences in the positioning of global brands. It intrigues me that while campaign slogans remain the same, the messaging and images they use to convey those taglines are very different.

The Share-a-Coke campaign, which was first rolled out in Australia a few years back and has been picked up in the US for the summer, was also introduced in the Philippines in 2014. This campaign allows you to personalize bottles by printing individual names or other social words such as Dad, Mom, or Bestie instead of the usual Coke label.

US Context

In the US, two ads were shown to introduce the campaign. The first one follows Bobby, the dog, as he searched for a bottle with his own name. I believe that this ad was targeted mostly to millennial and boomers which, if combined, make up an estimated 48% of the American population. The choice of personalizing a pet also has a wide appeal because according to the Humane Society, an estimated 47% of American households have a dog while 62% of households have at least one pet. The second ad was also targeted to a specific public, teenagers or Gen Z, and it shows a growing number of friends sharing a coke with each other.

Philippine Context

In the Philippines, the first ad was very simple and follows the same pattern as the US commercial. It shows a group of teenagers sharing Cokes with one another. Teens in the range of 15-24 comprise of 19% of the population. The second ad however was targeted to a wider audience: the working population and those in the age of 25-54. This makes up about 37% of the Philippine population.

Coke’s ads in both countries try to elicit certain emotions of connectivity and togetherness regardless of race, age, or even species. The target audiences are the same as well and Coke targets the same age range within the population. However, in the Philippine context, Coke adds another layer to its frame and message. It adds everyday situations to bring out emotions of gratitude, appreciation, and happiness. This is especially relevant for the 12th most populated country in the world where menial jobs are often taken for granted. I believe this was important for Coca-Cola so that it can extend its campaign and also tie in with their main slogan of happiness.

Especially now, when US sales have been stagnant, Coca-Cola has to step up efforts in order to maintain its success as a global brand. By effectively changing it’s framing and messaging to fit a country’s culture without changing its overall company’s positioning; I believe they have been successful.coca-cola-statistic_id225388_companys-market-share-in-the-us-2004-2013

For a non-soda drinker, it has been a while since Coke has caught my attention but this Share-a-Coke campaign has made me spend more time in the soda aisle, carefully checking for a bottle that holds names of my family and friends.

View the ads here:


Josephine Tolosa is taking her Master’s in Public Relations and Corporate Communications at Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies. 

Global Benefits of Trade

The effects of growing global influences on domestic economies have been significant. Policymakers have increasingly come to recognize that it is very difficult to isolate domestic economic activity from international market events. Decisions that were once clearly in the domestic purview have to be revised due to influences from abroad. At the same time, the clash between the fixed geography of nations and the non-territorial nature of many of today’s problems and solutions continues to escalate. Consider, too, that some of today’s products would be nearly impossible to build if manufacturers were unable to source supplies from and sell resulting goods into multiple global markets.

At its root, international trade assumes that trade will improve the quality of life for the consumers, both as individuals and as a nation. The WTO identifies ten core benefits of trade:

  • The system helps promote peace
  • Disputes are handled constructively
  • Rule make life easier for all
  • Freer trade cuts the cost of living
  • It provides more choice of products and qualities
  • Trade raises incomes
  • Trade stimulates economic growth
  • The basic principles make life more efficient
  • Governments are shielded from lobbying
  • The system encourages good government

To some extent however, the complex links that trade fosters between nations have turned the economic world inside out. For example, trade flows once determined currency flows and exchange rates. Recently, currency flows have taken on a life of their own, increasing from a daily average of $18 billion in 1980 to a record $5.3 trillion in 2013. As a result, currency flows have begun to set the value of exchange rates, independent of trade. These exchange rates, in turn, have now begun to determine the level of trade.

To regain some power to influence policies, some governments have sought to restrict the influence of world trade by erecting barriers, charging tariffs, and implementing some import regulations. However, these measures too have been restrained by the existence of international agreements forged through institutions such as the WTO or by bilateral negotiations. World trade has therefore changed many previously held notions about the sovereignty of nation-states and extraterritoriality. The same interdependence that made us all more affluent has also left us more vulnerable.

This is an excerpt from the book by: Michael R Czinkota, Ilkka A Ronkainen, and Michael H. Moffett. Fundamentals of International Business (New York: Wessex, 2015), 50-53.

15 Americans and 3 women among the World’s Top 20 Richest

The Forbes Magazine Billionaires List

This year’s list on the world’s richest found 1,826 billionaires with an aggregate net worth of $7.05 trillion. That number is up from $6.4 trillion a year ago. The list includes 290 newcomers, 71 of whom hail from China. There are also a record number of 46 young billionaires under the age of 40.

Bill Gates is once again the richest person on the planet with $79.2 billion, a title he has held for 16 years. Carlos Slim Helu of Mexico came in at No. 2 while Warren Buffett took back the No. 3 spot from Spain’s Amancio Ortega who slipped back to No. 4. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg moved up to No. 16, his first time to be ranked among the world’s 20 richest.

Read the full report here:

Forbes top 10


If you’re a woman with big dreams you may want to move there

A recent study released by the International Labor Organization (ILO) and published by the Washington Post shows that nearly a third of all businesses around the world are now owned or managed by women. Additionally, women now hold roughly 40 percent of jobs around the globe. While these numbers may seem encouraging, there is still a long way to go. For example, in the United States, women hold less than 20 percent of all corporate board seats. In most developed countries, women are underrepresented on the boards of large corporations.

In developing countries, however, women seem to have more opportunity. Jamaica reigns supreme with close to 60 percent women managers. Colombia and Saint Lucia rank next with 53 and 52 percent respectively. Beyond these three, the Philippines comes in fourth with just under 48 percent female managers.

The countries with the lowest number of employed women managers are Yemen, Pakistan, and Algeria with 4.9, 3, and 2.1 percent of women bosses. The rest of the bottom ten are from countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

Women Employment2

Read the full report here: