Results around the world – Cuba

Cuba leads the Caribbean region in life expectancy, gender equality, education, health, social spending and disaster preparedness. Nevertheless, Cuba faces many development challenges.

At least 70% of its food is imported, wages are low, shortages of basic goods are chronic, and a dual-currency economy results in unequal access to goods and services. Cuba is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. In recent years, it has experienced a greater frequency and severity of drought and hurricanes.

Canadian development programming in Cuba has historically focused on two areas: increasing food security and supporting sustainable economic growth, with gender equality and environmental sustainability as cross-cutting themes.

Projects in food security aim to bolster agricultural production, strengthen food value chains and improve agricultural sector management, with a focus on supporting female and male smallholder farmers in particular. Projects in sustainable economic growth support the implementation of Cuba’s economic and social reforms aimed at protecting social development.

Key results

In 2017-18:

Canada continued its partnership with the World Food Programme to increase food security for vulnerable women, men and children.. During the year, the initiative focused on capacity-building, procurement and distribution of equipment and goods , adaptation to environmental conditions and pest control, and improvement of value chain performance. This work has resulted in enhanced bean production over the past two years, including a 79% increase in bean production in beneficiary cooperatives, a 52% increase in yield per hectares, a 10% decrease in production costs and a 23% reduction in post-harvest losses. 

Canada also partnered with CowaterSogema and Cuba’s National Audit Office Auditor General of Cuba to build the capacity of Cuba’s auditors. This was done through training, technical assistance and technological support. The year’s work resulted in a 50% increase in participants’ knowledge in the areas of audit control, methodology and supervision, as well as a 54% increase in participants’ confidence in their ability to incorporate gender and environmental approaches when carrying out audits. Over five years, this project has trained 382 auditors in such auditing areas as gender equality, climate change, sustainable development goals, compliance (Levels I and II), and performance. This initiative has helped to strengthen Cuba’s public financial management system and build transparency.

Canada supported civil society organizations in Cuba to implement an initiative called Breaking the Silence, which provides tools for community groups and educators to raise awareness and promote prevention and action on violence against women and girls.

Canada also contributed just under $1 million in humanitarian assistance to complement Cuba’s efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in 2017. Through the work of key humanitarian partners like the UN’s World Food Programme and UNICEF, Canada helped meet the life-saving food, water and sanitation needs of those affected by the hurricane.  In addition, through the Canadian Humanitarian Assistance Fund, a project with Oxfam Canada provided shelter and hygiene assistance to over 1,200 families through the provision of non-food items like tarpaulins, mattresses, mosquito nets and essential hygiene items.

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