Canadian international assistance in Cuba
Cuba has a relatively high level of development compared to other Caribbean countries. But while it ranks 68th out of 188 countries on the United Nations 2016 human development index, it continues to face many challenges.
Food security is a priority for the Government of Cuba. Low agricultural productivity and weak food value chains mean that the country depends on imports for at least 70 % of its domestic food requirements.
As a small island state, Cuba's vulnerability to natural disasters has been seen in a series of devastating hurricanes and storms, Hurricane Gustav in 2008, Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and Hurricane Matthew in 2016.These extreme weather events have acted to displace millions, causing losses of billions of dollars for the economy and damage to infrastructure and crops.
With their greater vulnerability to natural disasters and their greater physical isolation, Cuba's five easternmost provinces have higher levels of poverty than the rest of the country.
Cuba has a highly centralized economy and political structures that are associated with economic inefficiency and low productivity. In contrast the country’s health and education services are internationally recognized and the export of health personnel to other countries is cited as Cuba’s main source of revenue, followed by tourism and remittances.
Cuba is working to modernize its economy, increase trade and attract more foreign investment.These efforts require the progressive development of modern business practices and improved accountability and transparency of public institutions.
In April 2011, the Government of Cuba launched a comprehensive series of economic guidelines, reflecting ashift from a mostly central economy to a more mixed,decentralized economic model. As part of these changes, Cuba has:
- reduced the size of its public sector (offloading about a million jobs)
- decentralized some decision-making to lower levels of government
- introduced greater autonomy to state enterprises
- facilitated the emergence of new economic actors, including different kinds of cooperatives and self-employed workers
Unused state-owned land has been made available to small, independent farmers on a temporary basis and individuals are now permitted to buy and sell property.
In January 2013, a new tax law came into effect that requires the collection of income tax and other forms of taxes and in 2014, a new Foreign Investment law was introduced.Despite these reforms, changes are being implemented slowly, and both internal and external factors continue to constrain Cuba’s economy.
Our international development assistance
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Canada is one Cuba’s major bilateral donors and maintains a strong dialogue with the Government of Cuba on its development priorities. Our support embodies Canadian values and expertise and reflects our own international development priorities, such as gender equality and the empowerment of women. Canada's international development programis helping Cuba to strengthen its agricultural sector and improve food security.It also supports technical training in key sectors, including the energy sector and in public financial management, with the latter facilitating efficiency and accountability in the delivery of public services.
Supporting technical training
The Government of Canada works with Canadian organizations and trusted multilateral partners to support institutions that promote economic growth and lead on modernization of Cuba’s economy.
Key anticipated results:
- Completion of competency-based technical training and certification to international standards of 2,500 workers, leading to improved industrial productivity
- Delivery of twelve training programs to help prepare Cubans for employment in emerging industries such as oil and gas operations, petrochemical exploration, power engineering, pipefitting and renewable energy
- Training of auditors nationally in modern auditing techniques and information technologies will help solidify the advances of government agencies and state-run enterprises toward greater transparency and accountability
Emphasis on agriculture
Canada's is helping to increase agricultural diversification, productivity and competitiveness in Cuba, especially in the more disadvantaged provinces. By focusing on small farming cooperatives and municipal agricultural delegations, Canada is supporting decentralization and capacity building in business planning, modern farming techniques and local agricultural governance.An emphasis on building integrated and efficient production chains supports the sustainability of improvements over time.
Key anticipated results:
- An increase in the production of mangoes, guavas and papaya in Santiago de Cuba and Artemisa
- An increase in bean production, 50% improvement in per hectare in overall yield and reduction in post-harvest losses for small producers in Matanzas and Guantanamo
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