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Cuba opens up its economy to private businesses

Cuba on Feb 7 announced it will allow private businesses to operate in most sectors, in what is a...

👤 H K Badal7 Feb 2021 3:14 PM GMT
Cuba opens up its economy to private businesses
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Cuba on Feb 7 announced it will allow private businesses to operate in most sectors, in what is a major reform to its state-controlled economy.

Labour Minister Marta Elena Feito said the list of authorised activities had expanded from 127 to more than 2,000.

Only a minority of sectors would be reserved for the state, she said.

The communist country's economy has been hit hard by the pandemic and US sanctions introduced by the Trump administration.

Last year its economy shrank by 11% - its worst decline in almost three decades - and Cubans have been facing shortages of basic goods.

Apart from hundreds of thousands of small farms, Cuba's non-state sector is composed mainly of small private businesses run by artisans, taxi drivers and tradesmen.

Around 600,000 people, around 13% of the workforce, joined the private sector when the opportunity arose.

Some 60 years of hostility between the US and Cuba were eased in 2015 when then US President Obama and Cuban leader Raul Castro agreed to normalise relations, allowing US citizens to visit the island and empowering local businesses