Friday, August 12, 2016

North Korea has developed its own Viagra — and it claims the drug can solve almost anything

Many miracles seem to reportedly take place in the mysterious country of North Korea. From claims of their former leader having golfed 11 holes-in-one, to developing a cure for AIDS, the Hermit Kingdom is never short of extraordinary claims.
Its latest contribution to society, however, won't be needing a healthy dose of miracles to be true. Instead, its latest pharmaceutical product — developed by the state-owned Korea Oriental Instant Medicinal Center — seems to work as it should: treating sexual dysfunction.
Called Neo-Viagra, the purported “herbal medicine” is being sold in North Korea for between $12 and $15, with indications of it being ready for export.
After being analyzed in a lab, Pfizer, the pharmaceutical corporation that manufactures the original Viagra, found that around 50-milligrams of sildenafil, the active synthetic ingredient in Viagra, was present in the North Korean version.
A lab analysis of the two also showed stark differences. Besides looking completely different — Neo-Viagra being brown granules contained in a vial, whereas Pfizer’s version is a signature blue pill — Pfizer sells Viagra with 25, 50, and 100-milligrams of sildenafil.
But the differences don’t end there. Not only is Neo-Viagra claimed to treat both female and male patients, according to The Washington Post, the packaging also claims to relieve back, shoulder and knee pain, ease paralysis, and alleviate “kidney malfunction, sciatic neuralgia, high blood pressure and brain artery hardening.”
viagra fake Can you spot the fake Viagra pill? It's on the left.
This wouldn’t be the first time that North Korea has been caught hawking knock-offs of foreign products. In addition to manufacturing fake Viagra pills in the past, they’ve also been accused of producing counterfeit $100 “supernotes” and Marlboro cigarettes.
The isolated state has also been discovered to have a drug problem of a different sort. Reportshave sprouted with the notion that North Korea may be undergoing a major methamphetamine-abuse problem. Once a hub of opium production, after floods and natural disasters ruined their poppy farms, the state took to a different approach to producing a cheap and fast way of generating revenue in the black market.
It’s unclear whether or not this ambitious cure will ever make its way to consumers in the west, however, the product has already been found being sold in parts of China. As of now, North Korea may have to face legal ramifications — after The Post sent their sample of Neo-Viagra to Pfizer analysts, the pharmaceutical company stated that they were reviewing the possibility of patent or copyright infringements from North Korea.
All in all, illicit activities provide a major boost to the Hermit Kingdom's sidelined economy. A report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies estimates that North Korea earns annually "$15 million to $100 million from counterfeiting, $80-160 million from cigarette counterfeiting, and a total annual criminal activities income of $500 million to $1 billion."

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Visa on arrival in Ghana - What it means for Tourism and Hospitality.

Ghana has started a visa-on-arrival scheme at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) for all African Union Nationals whose countries do not have a visa-free agreement with the country. All AU nationals affected by the policy who arrive in the country must have a passport, valid for at least three months from the date of entry; they must have a return ticket or evidence of onward travel; they must show evidence of sufficient funds and proof of accommodation before they are granted visas according to the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS). This  is very great news for many travelers. However, what does it mean for the Tourism and Hospitality industries? Jumia Travel, Africa’s leading online hotel booking website looks at the advantages and disadvantages of this development to these industries.

For many travelers from African Union countries who plan on coming to Ghana either for business or for a vacation, this is welcoming news. What this basically means is that there is no need for running around embassies hustling for a visa before entering Ghana. All you have to do is be on that plane and you can acquire the visa once you arrive at the airport in Ghana. This eliminates the headache most travelers get  from the processes and the bureaucracy involved. Coming to Ghana has never been easier than this.
Secondly, the visa on arrival saves time and money. For many travelers, it was very time consuming filling out various forms and assembling many supporting documents to process a visa. The stress involved even discourages travelers and they tend to end the process as fast as they begin it. The monies involved in acquiring these visas also exorbitant. From transportation costs to visa fees and agent fees, some travelers end up spending so much money to secure a simple visa to Ghana which discourages them.

The new system means that more people will be willing to come down to this country as it has become very convenient, cheaper and less time consuming. For the hospitality industry, the more people who arrive in Ghana, the more need for accommodation (Hotels) and the more use of restaurants which means more business for stakeholders in the industry. For the Tourism sector, as more people are able to travel freely to Ghana, sales at tourist sites will be boosted and referrals from tourists to other travelers will also increase. There will be increased pressure on stakeholders to improve infrastructure and services in order to accommodate the large numbers of tourists trickling into the country.
On the other hand, many Hotels are already selling their rooms at high rates due to certain socio-economic factors. If the number of foreign entry increases a bit more, then rates will be out of range because of the need to compete and provide adequate and efficient services to these travelers. This will have an adverse effect on the hospitality sector and a rippling effect on tourism. If travelers have to pay huge fees to get comfortable accommodation, they will be hardly any money left at all to tour and visit historic destinations and attractions that will fetch good revenue for the nation.

Significantly, the issuance of visas on arrival is a very limiting service. Although highly beneficial, it is limited to only air travelers and doesn’t make room currently for travelers who enter Ghana by road and sea. This means that many African travelers who cannot afford to travel by air would not benefit and this will stop them from planning trips to many beautiful destinations in Ghana. What this also means is that, there will be long queues at the airport as every African traveler will be in line for a visa on arrival at the airport. This may be frustrating especially for the old, children or disabled.
Finally, making it easy for African travelers to get visas on arrival in Ghana means that a few people might enter the country and not return to their various home countries. This will have grave effects on the demographics of certain areas of the country, putting excess pressure on the already scarce resources.
The new visa on arrival policy for AU countries is a very good initiative and all stakeholders must ensure that it operates smoothly and with less disadvantages so as to grow the Hospitality and Tourism industries and cause a positive effect on foreign exchange and Ghana’s GDP.

Credit : JumiaTravel

No expectations, no disappointments; Africa is just Africa

The world’s second largest and second most populous continent with wonderful people and great countries endowed with rich history and heritage. This is Africa!
We are blessed with great resources and all it takes to impact the world and of course Africa is right up there when it comes to the shakers and movers of this world. However, there is often a grave misconception about Africa. A lot of people associate this great continent with wars, poverty and many negative attributes. A few others also exaggerate the success and potential of Africa. In both cases, the real picture is never painted about us. Jumia Travel, Africa’s leading online hotel booking website attempts to clarify this and create the real picture about Africa. Africa is just Africa.

Achievers - Indeed, the misconception about the impact and contribution of Africans to global development is often considered over the actual achievements of many great African personalities. We are blessed to have several world icons who have worked selflessly to impact the world through charity, leadership, sports, education, health, industry, religion and commerce.
A few high profile names include The late Nelson Mandela, Kofi Annan, Desmond Tutu, Haile Selassie, Abedi Pele, George Weah and Haile Gebrselassie who made diverse impacts on the world in humanitarianism, sports and politics.

Rich in natural resources - When we talk about richness in natural resources, Africa ranks right up there. With countries such as Ghana, Ivory coast and South Africa contributing gold and Cocoa as well as several minerals to the global stock exchange. Countries like Kenya and Tanzania are also very beautiful and have amazing tourist attractions.

Hard working and friendly yet highly industrious people - We are happy people. African’s are very friendly and welcoming. Most Africans are peaceful. Many outsiders usually are misguided by the notion that Africa is full of conflicts and wars. However, although some parts of Africa are hit with wars and crime, the continent is generally very peaceful with friendly and very accommodating people. The vast majority of Africans are also very hardworking and industrious.
Efficiency is a key element of an African’s DNA.

Rapid growth and business development - When many businesses want to expand across various continents, they often begin with Africa. This is because Africa provides a very fertile ground for rapid business growth and development. Many foreign businesses have succeeded in Africa because of the atmosphere, culture and resources of this great continent. The opportunities to expand and achieve are endless.

Now let’s take a look at some of the not so good sides of this continent.

Sustainability and Maintenance culture on the low - If there is a continent where businesses can collapse or fold up as quickly as they rise, that is Africa. Despite the many resources which this continent is blessed with, Africa is plagued with a very bad maintenance culture. Sustainability is not our most cherishable asset and we often struggle to keep facilities and services running for the long term. These days however, trends are changing and many strategic plans are being put in place to ensure that sustainability and maintenance is treated with decorum.

Corruption and Voodoo - It is often quite hilarious when Africa is tagged with corruption. The key question is, where in the world is there no corruption? In almost every corner of the world, corruption exists. The only difference is how publicized it is in Africa.  While corruption in other parts of the world is covered, in Africa, it is made so public. The same applies to voodoo popularly known as ‘’Black Magic’’. Many different tribes in the world believe in different things and have different practices which may be considered a bit scary or evil. However, once the practice or belief doesn’t harm any other person, it is deemed okay. The only problem here is, in Africa voodoo or ’’black magic’’ is touted as evil and unacceptable which mars the general beauty and outside value of this continent.

With all the above mentioned facts and more, one can confidently conclude that Africa is what it is. We have great room for improvement but it is highly imperative that anyone who lives outside the shores of this continent should have no expectations and no disappointments about Africa. Africa is just what it is. Expecting too much often gets us disappointed and underestimating the power of Africa is also detrimental. A balance must therefore be reached when talking about Africa. It is a very unique and blessed continent.

Credit : JumiaTravel

5 Key elements of the Homowo Festival that will blow your mind

One of the most colourful festivals in Ghana, Homowo (which means ‘’hooting at hunger’’) is celebrated by the Ga tribe in the Greater Accra Region. It is notable for the sprinkling of the festival dish called "Kpokpoi" to the gods and ancestors for spiritual protection. A procession of twins through the principal streets, traditional drumming and dancing and general merry-making usually epitomizes the enthusiasm and great entertainment that comes with this historic festival. About a month to it’s celebration, there is a ban on noise making in the whole region. Strict measures are usually put in place to enforce this ban and strenuous punishments are implemented to offenders. However, the festival is noted also for very mind-blowing elements and practices. Let’s see a few that you may not have known about.

1. Celebrated to hoot at hunger - By now, as the translation from the native Ga language to English will showcase, Homowo means ‘’Hooting at hunger’’ but translated sometimes as ‘’Shame to hunger’’. It is believed that, when the Ga’s migrated to their current place of settlement, they were greeted by grave famine for a period until eventually there was a bumper harvest of corn. The festival therefore makes a mockery of the hunger which their ancestors suffered by sprinkling food on the ground for the gods and ancestors of the land.

2. Thirty-day ban on drumming is imposed on the land by the priests - The festival is also preceded by a one month ban on noise making. No form of noise whether by drums, singing, PA systems or any form of sound output is allowed. The punishments to offenders often include a variety of well-structured disciplinary tools such as fines, confiscation of items etc. The ban is believed to give the gods and ancestors the peace of mind to prepare for the festival ahead and offer protection to the indigens.

3. The festival is highlighted at varying times by different quarters of the Ga tribe - Just like many other festivals in Ghana, the festival is celebrated by different facets of the tribe. In the case of the Ga Tribe, a systematic time table has been drawn where the various suburbs take time to celebrate one after the other before the final grand celebration by the entire tribe. The beauty here is how every tribe joins in the celebration of another and each tribe has a its own way of celebrating.

4. Fourth Day Mystery - No farming activity takes place on this day, and in some parts of the country no farmer is allowed by Native Law and Custom even to scratch the surface of the land. The preparation for the general Harvest Festival Custom and Harvest for the whole tribe. The mystery here has been discussed far and wide throughout the years with the question, why? Generally locals believe it is the day when the gods and ancestors go out to harvest their own produce and prepare their meals and hence it will be disrespectful for locals to also do same or ‘’dine with the gods’’.

5. No one is allowed to demand a debt till after the Homowo or Harvest Festival - Sometimes, many people disagree with this and most end up unhappy about this. However, it is Ga custom for citizens not t demand a debt till after the festival. Legend has no reason for this but it is believed to allow debtors ample time to recover from expenses from the festival to be able to pay back debts.

Credit : JumiaTravel

Price versus Quality; customer priorities in perspective

In business, the aim of every company or business firm is to make good profit while keeping long lasting customers and attracting new customers each time with products and services that are solution oriented and are in constant demand. However, there are several major determinants of profit margins and successful businesses. Two of these key determinants are price and quality of products / services which these businesses offer. The priorities of the customers who patronize these products and services should be taken into key consideration by every business establishment. Even when the issue of competition with other companies that offer the same products and services, prices and the quality provided gives one company the edge over the other. Jumia Travel, Africa’s leading online hotel booking portal delves into this topic.

The importance of both price and quality to the success of every business entity can never be over emphasized. Although these two key elements are affected by several other individual factors, they are by far the two most prioritized parameters that customers consider when purchasing a product. They are so important that they walk hand in hand. Below are some dynamics of price and quality with reference to customer priorities.

High quality at a high price - This is probably the most feared of all the dynamics. With high quality almost always comes a high price since the cost of production, quality assurance and other preparatory elements are very high which translates into high prices. For some customers, quality may be paramount and hence, irrespective of the price, they will purchase the item. For many other customers, the price of the product or service is often compared with the quality of the product and hence even if the product is of extremely high quality, they will look for other options.

Low quality at a high price - In this type of dynamic, there is often little or no gain for businesses. It’s often a rip off or exploitation and only certain type of consumers fall for it. Most customers will never buy products or utilize low quality services if the price is very high. It is simply a no-no. In rare occasions where customers are in dire need of the product or service with no other alternative, they might just take it as it is. But this kind is very rare.

High quality at a low price - In this type of dynamic, customers rush to producers or service providers. This happens mostly during discount sales and promotions. In most cases however, a few very smart customers will buy large quantities and sell for a much higher price. Although a high quality product that goes for a very low price will attract more customers, it has a devastating effect on businesses since the revenue normally doesn’t match the costs of production. For customers, this is the best suited dynamic for them.

Low quality at a low price - Finally, the dynamic that allows a multitude of consumers to play in the market as they wish. Although the quality is low here, a very low price means that customers naturally jump to it. Some may consider the quality and buy less while others may just consider the price fall and buy in bulk.
Maybe to sell at a higher price later.

In conclusion, low quality doesn’t necessarily mean low quality whereas a high price doesn’t also guarantee a high quality. Both price and quality walk hand in hand. Therefore it is up to every individual customer to prioritize. Whether price or quality, it is an established fact that every customer wants a high quality product at a very reasonable yet affordable price.
Credit : JumiaTravel

Top 5 weekend destinations in Ghana for great family bonding

The world has become very challenging with less time for other life activities and more concentration on work, success and making money. There is always an opportunity to have some good times with your family. They are the primary people in our lives. We end up spending more time at work than at home with our spouses and kids. There comes a time when you have to move away from all the stress and hard work to spend good time with the people we love and care about the most. Take vacations, go to as many places as you can. You can always make money, but you can't always make memories. Jumia Travel, Africa’s leading online hotel booking website brings you top 5 weekend destinations in Ghana for great family bonding.

Ada - Now the haven of most family travelers. A place where most people instantly look at when they plan a family vacation. With some very amazing beaches and waterfronts coupled with comfortable hotels and apartments, Ada is a town that is always packed during weekends. Located in the Eastern Region of Ghana, the town is rich in culture and heritage. The famous Asafotufiami festival is celebrated extensively here and travelers who find themselves in Ada are blessed with a great taste of tradition, fun and excitement. The Akosombo dam and Adomi bridge are tourist attractions close by this town. Enjoy Ada! The salty city.

Akosombo - Often labelled as the city of light, Akosombo houses Ghana’s main source of hydroelectric power, The Akosombo Dam. The dam serves as both a source of power and a great tourist attraction for families who are interested in spending some of their vacation time learning about the richness of Ghana and the operations of the dam. The Town is also close to the Volta Lake which is also a great tourist attraction where families can journey over the lake via a ferry, taking pictures and enjoying the scenery. Great hotels and apartments are also available here where families can relax and have some great time discussing family issues while working on the love and family bond.

Elmina - When visitors come to Ghana, a great place to stop by is Elmina. Similarly, any Ghanaian looking to take a weekend trip away from their homes can take a tour of Elmina (or St George's) Castle. The castle possesses great history as a major trans-Atlantic slave hub. Elmina is located along Ghana's central coast. It is just a few miles (12 km) west of Cape Coast Castle. Slave trade was not the purpose for which the castle was built; it started as a trading post for gold and other wares. Legend has it that the name "Elmina" emanates from the Portuguese name for this coast "Da Costa de el Mina de Ouro" (The Coast of Gold Mines).
Once at Elmina, you can enjoy the beautiful beaches, indigenous food and lovely music and dance from the very funny yet welcoming people here. A great place to take the children to learn more about Ghanaian history, culture and heritage whiles having fun and relaxing.

Paga - Very popular for the crocodiles, this Northern town is a great getaway destination for families who want to travel for a great weekend of bonding and rehabilitation. The Paga crocodile pond is a  tourist destination that charms a lot of tourists when they are told the story of the protracted mutual co-existence between the indigenes of Paga and their friendly crocodiles. How can man live with crocodiles without brutalities? Paga serves that answer. A trip to the pond, a very vigorous horse ride and a lecture about the history of the town makes Paga a great choice for a weekend family bonding. Other tourist attractions close by are the Mole National Park and the Salaga Slave Market which are in the Northern region and can be visited either on the way to or from Paga.

Obuasi - A quiet and peaceful town in the Ashanti Region. Most of the inhabitants are miners as it is a town rich in gold. It is a very beautiful city with lots of great places to relax and hangout. From fancy restaurants to local kitchens and many parks and gardens, as well as cinemas and entertainment/ art centres. A family that takes a weekend trip here can visit the mines to see how gold, which is Ghana’s highest foreign exchange earner is mined. Several pools and recreational centres offer for much fun and excitement. A trip here won’t only be beneficial for the family bond but also for the children to learn a thing or two about gold in Ghana.

Credit : JumiaTravel

Warren Buffett knocks Trump's business record, failure to show tax returns

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, left, waves to members of the audience as she and Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett, right, arrive at a rally at Omaha North High Magnet School in Omaha, Neb., on Aug. 1, 2016.
(Andrew Harnik / AP)

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett says he'll do whatever it takes to defeat Donald Trump — including escorting people to the polls himself.

Campaigning with Hillary Clinton in Nebraska Monday, Buffett savaged Trump's business record, questioning his bankruptcies and asking why the Republican presidential candidate won't release his tax returns. The so-called "Omaha Oracle" then announced a new campaign called "Drive 2 Vote," designed to bring out voters in Nebraska's second congressional district, which offers a single Electoral College vote to the district winner.

"I will take at least 10 people to the polls who would otherwise have difficulty getting there," said Buffett, adding that he had reserved a 32-seat trolley for the day with a goal of getting the highest-percentage turnout of any congressional district in the country. "Let's give America a civics lesson."
Nebraska is one of two states that assign some electoral votes based on the results within congressional districts. While the state is Republican overall, President Barack Obama won a vote here in 2008 in the more liberal district where Clinton appeared Monday, which includes Omaha and the suburbs. The boundaries have since been redrawn to make the district less blue.
The Midwestern stop came amid a clash between Trump and a Muslim-American family who spoke against him at the Democratic National Convention. Trump responded by attacking Khizr and Ghazela Kahn, whose son served in the U.S. Army and was killed in Iraq in 2004.
Buffett called Trump's comments "the final straw," arguing that his family had not sacrificed like military families.

Buffett, who endorsed Clinton last year, was the latest in a series of business leaders attacking Trump as Clinton seeks to woo moderate and independent voters. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban campaigned with Clinton over the weekend, and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg delivered a searing indictment of Trump's economic proposals during the Democratic National Convention.
Before several thousand people gathered at an Omaha high school, Buffett challenged Trump to agree to a meeting where they would both release their tax returns. He also said that after Trump listed his casino and hotel company on the New York Stock Exchange in 1995, investors lost money, even though "in 1995 when he offered this company, if a monkey had thrown a dart at the stock page, the monkey on average would have made 150 percent."
Buffett repeated long-held assertions that the tax code favors the wealthy, which Clinton echoed, pledging to pay for new programs through more taxes on the rich. Clinton also continued the assaults on Trump, criticizing him for making products overseas. She promised to "support the kind of small businesses that Donald Trump has consistently stiffed."
Clinton enthusiastically received Buffett's plan to get out voters and upped the ante. She said that if the district has the highest percentage of voters and if she wins, then she'll come back soon "and Warren and I will dance in the streets of Omaha together."
Amid cheers Clinton added, "Maybe if we're really lucky he'll wear his Elvis costume again."
Associated Press

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