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Economic Development

ECLAC Report 2019 – the Cuban Economy

Source: Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), on the basis of official figures. Note: Central America includes Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) (Spanish acronym: CEPAL) was established in 1948. ECLAC is headquartered in Santiago, Chile, and is one of the five regional commissions of the United Nations. It was founded with the purpose of contributing to the economic development of Latin America.

ECLAC has published its Annual Report for 2019 which states the following on economic growth for the region:

“According to the report, the region will grow this year by just 0.5%, a lower figure than the 0.9% registered in 2018. This performance is attributed to the effects of a slowdown in sync with the global economy, which has meant an unfavorable international scenario for the region. Likewise, the low growth internally is due to the lack of momentum exhibited by investments, exports and a fall in public spending and private consumption.

Compared to previous years, the slowdown in 2019 will be generalized and affect 21 of the 33 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. On average, South America is expected to grow by 0.2%, Central America 2.9% and the Caribbean 2.1%.”

Alejandro Gil Fernández, Minister of Economy and Planning (MEP), made the following statement in his Twitter account: “Despite the worsening of the blockade, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) forecasts that the Cuban economy will not decline in 2019 and estimates a growth of 0.5%, similar to that of the region. We remain focused on improving the quality of life of the people, which is the really important thing.”

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The tweet reaffirms the projections for the Cuban economy for 2019 and, at the same time, validates the Cuban government focus on a prosperous and possible future.

According to the annual ECLAC 2019 report recently published in Santiago de Chile, it is expected that this year the economic growth of the region will maintain on a downward trajectory, due to “an international context with greater uncertainties and complexities and a weak behavior of investment, exports and consumption.”

During the Third Regular Session of Parliament, Gil Fernández confirmed its economic strategy aimed at defending national production, diversifying and increasing exports, replacing imports, promoting productive chains, strengthening the company state, advancing food sovereignty, enhancing local development, as well as complying with the Housing Policy and placing scientific research in the role of problem solving.

At the end of 2018, the Cuban economy showed a growth of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at constant prices of 2.2%, higher than the estimated 1.2%, beyond the financial restrictions faced, due to the intensification of the blockade and the non-compliance with the expected income from exports, mainly tourism and nickel.

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This result was effected by increases in construction, public health, agriculture, livestock and forestry industries.

During the first half of 2019, progress was achieved, and essential production targets for the country were reached.

The exports of medical services, tobacco, rum, lobster, concentrated juices and fresh fruits, as well as coal, among other commodities, exceeded targets. Imports of human and animal food stabilized and made it was possible that debt repayment exceeded borrowing.

The measures approved to boost the economy, Alejandro Gil emphasized, “foster a more favorable environment to take advantage of internal potential and overcome, successfully, the siege to which we are subjected by the United States Government, which cannot bend us.”

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Information source: Granma.Cu and Cepal.Org

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