In a move to stimulate the economy and create employment, Cuba has announced the expansion of the small business sector from 127 to 2,000 types of activities. Only 124 of them have been limited, either totally or partially revised.
The move will benefit more than 600,000 people–approximately 13% of the workforce–who have suffered from losses because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the upsurge of US sanctions against Cuba by the Trump administration.
Marta Elena Feitó, the Minister of Labor, stated the current list of 127 of permitted private businesses will be expanded to include more than 2,000 for the self-employed, according to a report in the local newspaper Granma.
Last year, Cuba’s economy shrank by 11%, the worst decline in three decades. The expansion of the private sector will help in rebuilding the economy.
The non-state sector included hundreds of thousands of small cooperative farms, small businesses run by artisans, taxi drivers, and tradespeople. Many private businesses are involved in the island’s tourism industry, which has experienced hardship because of the Covid pandemic and hardening of US sanctions against the nation.
New US President Joe Biden has indicated he wants to improve US-Cuban relations, but it is not clear when this will begin.