Private Area
Cuba 1 1


Total area: 110,860 Km2
Population: 11,087,330
HDI rank: n.a.; HDI value: n.a.
Population living below the poverty line: n.a.
GDP per capita: 9,900 USD
Life expectancy: 77.7 years
Illiteracy rate (women): 3.2%
Illiteracy rate (men): 3%
Infant mortality rate: 4.9/1,000
Fertility rate: 1.44 children/woman
Access to drinking water: 91%


Over the last decades, Cuba has undergone a number of changes in political, economic and social spheres: incidents that took place in the 1950s, such as the growth in protests by student movements and the Cuban revolution, which led to the country forming closer bonds with the former USSR and the confrontations with the USA and subsequent economic embargo imposed by the USA on Fidel Castro’s government.

In the 1990s, the Cuban economic model faced some of its toughest challenges, including limited foreign investment in the country and a slowing-down of its economy as a result of the US embargo, and the withdrawal of subsidies from the former USSR, following the collapse of the Soviet Block. Tourism and the agricultural sector (especially sugar-cane crops in the eastern parts of the island) provide one source of revenue, and there are intentions to further diversify the country’s agricultural produce.

With an average annual GDP growth rate of 3.8% in 2003, there was a notable effort in 2005 to boost economic growth in spite of the obstacles that existed. A monetary policy was introduced with measures intended to strengthen the national currency by increasingly substituting and discouraging the use of the dollar in domestic trade. Similarly, social measures were taken that were geared towards the neediest and most vulnerable groups.

On a par with economic matters, those affecting society and the health centre are also being increasingly addressed by the Cuban government, as can be seen by the improvements in the education system – a primary school enrolment rate of 95% (2001/02), the consequent rise in the number of pupils reaching Year 5 and the percentage increase in the literacy rate, which rose from 93.3% in 1990 to 99.8% in 2005.

Measures have also been taken to ensure gender equality, allowing increased numbers of women in sectors other than agriculture and guaranteeing them equal rights with men.

Where the health system is concerned, pregnant women are increasingly being monitored and assisted throughout pregnancy and childbirth by competent personnel and satisfactory results have been achieved in the combat against serious diseases. Over the period from 1994 to 2001, the number of cases of tuberculosis per 100 thousand inhabitants dropped from 15 in 1994 to 7 in 2001. Infant mortality dropped from 11 per thousand live births in 1990 to 6 in 2003. However, the relevant Cuban bodies must continue paying greater attention to the fight against HIV/AIDS and matters of environmental sustainability.

As far as asserting itself internationally is concerned – which is necessary to counterbalance the effect of the American embargo – Cuba has sought to strengthen regional agreements. Among the most noteworthy are the ones reached with Venezuela, as part of the Strategic Plan for the Application of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), in addition to others negotiated with Latin American countries and China.


Source: Human Development Report-UNDP; The World Factbook; Human Development Report - UNDP


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