A view over the rooftops of the Cuban capital Havana.
Our work in Cuba
Sweden's development cooperation with Cuba is intended to support the ongoing modernisation of the country's economy and governance and to safeguard respect for human rights. The main focus will be capacity development, cooperation between Swedish and Cuban institutions and experience exchange.
Sweden's development cooperation with Cuba commenced in 1969. Conditions changed in 2003 when Cuba decided to refrain from all bilateral development cooperation with the EU Member States.
The EU resumed development cooperation with Cuba in 2008. After a long period of limited bilateral relations between Sweden and Cuba, the Government has in 2015 taken steps to restore links at the political level.
This new development cooperation will further build on previous cooperation and experience. Cooperation will be with Cuban authorities, civil society organisations and possibly also with UN agencies. At the moment, work is underway to determine which actors Sida will cooperate with.
The development cooperation amounts to SEK 90 million in the period 2016–2020, which is about SEK 18 million per year. This is cooperation of limited size, but it provides an opportunity to contribute through capacity development and experience exchange.
Freedom of expression and organisation is circumscribed in Cuba. However, in recent years, the independent civil society has to some extent created greater scope for itself, and the information monopoly has been broken with the general public’s measure of access to the internet. In 2013, amendments were made to migration legislation that increases opportunities for Cubans to travel out of the country and to return. Freedom of religion and LGBT rights have been strengthened, and legislation against the discrimination of LGBT people has been introduced.
The primary task of development assistance in Cuba is to strengthen democracy and gender equality and to increase respect for human rights. An important element is to strengthen civil society organisations.
Cooperation is also intended to strengthen citizens' knowledge and understanding of democracy, human rights and gender equality, including LGBT rights, and of the principles of the rule of law.
Economy and governance
In 2011, Cuba began a process of economic modernisation. The state monopoly is now being relaxed, and self-employment is growing. Cuba has renegotiated its foreign debt and has the ambition to join the global economy. But so far the positive effects on economic development are limited. Most Cubans still live under meagre conditions.
Sida's support is intended to promote a sustainable economy and governance in order to enable poor people to improve their living conditions.