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Abstract

Amongst the various countries in transition, Cuba is pursuing a path of adjustment in which it is striving to maintain the basic social achievements of its revolution. The article describes, first, Cuba's development in the period from 1960 to the mid 1980's; second, the impact of the changing international situation thereafter on the Cuban economy; and third, the way in which Cuba has responded to the latter, specifically its efforts to promote diversified foreign trade and investment and to create a new management culture supportive of the latter.

Against this background, an assessment is made of ongoing institutional reforms in the exporting sector of Cuba's state enterprises and planning system. US embargo notwithstanding, Cuba is receiving significant international support for the latter, especially from the UN system.

The article finally assesses the prospects for the Cuban economy, in a situation of increasing difficulty. Conclusions range over a number of issues that arise from Cuba's strategy for survival and renewed growth: (i) the emerging contradictions within its overall strategy, particularly the split between the centrally-planned and controlled domestic market and the much freer exporting and foreign exchange earning sectors; (ii) the ability of the population to tolerate the adjustment costs and deprivations in the short term; (iii) international competition with a number of other countries for foreign investment, particularly Pharmaceuticals; (iv) some of the strategic risks inherent in the selective and gradualist approach of Cuba and its ability to turn around the economy in time to enable it to survive; (v) the ability of the overall system to move quickly forward from basic management training to structural change in what might be the enabling policy and institutional environment.

In confronting these challenges, the article also stresses (i) the adaptability of Cuban managers who have shown themselves highly retrainable to play new roles in the global economy; (ii) the considerable resource endowments of Cuba, including abundant human capital and investment in scientific and technological research and development, its location advantages and its stability and determination.