Cuba's economy tops 4pc growth
December 05, 2008
Article from: Agence France-Presse
CUBA'S economic growth topped more than 4 per cent in 2008, despite a
year of crises for the island.
"The Cuban economy grew by just over four per cent in 2008," said
Finance Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez, quoted by the official AIN news
Mr Rodriguez, who also serves as Cuba's vice-president, stressed that
2008 will "go down in history as a difficult year for Cuba."
The island felt the effects of the global financial crisis, the ongoing
US trade embargo and the trauma of the island's devastating hurricane
season, he said.
The period, he added, tested the country's resilience, "the flexibility
of its economy and its ability to redirect central planning efforts to
deal with phenomena that are not in our control".
Mr Rodriguez emphasised that in addition to the hurricane season that
cost the island some $US10 billion ($15.4 billion) in damages, Cuba had
been severely affected by the 53 per cent increase in fuel prices, and
the rising cost of imported food.
All told, he said, the 2008 fuel and food price increases "will cost
more than $US800 million".
The Communist nation, which has laboured under a US trade embargo for
almost half a century, also faced the effects of the "global crisis in
the capitalist economy," he added.
The turmoil has impacted the island's exports, notably its nickel, Mr
The metal's worth topped $US51,000 per tonne in May last year, and is
worth at the moment between $US9000 and $US10,000," he said.
For the last four years, Cuba – which grew by 7.5 per cent in 2007 – has
included public spending and national subsidies in measuring its gross
domestic product, unlike the method used by the Economic Commission for
According to the Cuban government, the US trade embargo, in place since
1962, has cost the island some $US93 billion.