As part of its current Cooperation Strategy (2017–21), Switzerland (SDC) is supporting the Cuban government with the modernisation of its socio-economic model. It has been focusing its efforts on local development since 2011.

© 2014 Natural Earth

In comparison with other Caribbean and Central American countries, Cuba performs well in terms of basic social services (healthcare, education and social security). However, the country is faced with economic problems stemming from its dual currency system and dependence on other countries for basic food products. The government has been pursuing a policy of devolution of public services, the privatisation of certain economic activities and municipalisation since 2011.

SDC supports projects in 95 of 168 Cuban municipalities in the fields of participation (support with decentralisation, development of municipal institutions’ capabilities, planning and participative management), agriculture and economic development (support for private cooperatives, enhancement of value chains, certified organic production and renewable energies) and the promotion of gender equality (social inclusion, combating discrimination due to gender, age and sexual orientation).

Municipal management

Civic engagement and decentralisation

80 municipalities have produced a municipal development strategy with support from SDC since the reform of decentralisation was launched in two pilot provinces – Mayabeque and Artemisa – in 2011–2012. This primarily involves helping local authorities to define consultation processes with local sectoral institutions and the population and then identifying small-scale local development projects funded either by local taxes (1% of municipal revenues can be used locally) or with the support of SDC.

In some municipalities up to five projects supported by Switzerland are working in tandem with the municipal authorities to improve the living conditions of the population in specific key areas, such as housing, agricultural production and renewable energies. Restrictions on financial resources and the powers of municipal authorities continue to represent major challenges which need to be clarified at governmental level.

Agriculture and economic development at municipal level

There was a 10.7% annual increase in agricultural production on average between 2010 and 2016 in the 40 or so municipalities where the SDC is operating. 3.9 million people, which represents 31% of the total population, have benefited from these activities (creation of employment, increase in income). Establishing networks between the various actors (small-scale producers, cooperatives, state enterprises) and economic mechanisms (certification, transportation, marketing) represent major challenges.

Agriculture and food security

Social inclusion and gender equality

SDC supports two platforms made up of official institutions, local NGOs and community projects working on the issues of social inclusion, the combat against all types of discrimination and the promotion of gender equality. The 15 partner institutions supported by Switzerland carry out national campaigns on these key issues, reaching both citizens (awareness-raising) and national authorities (adjustment of the legal framework).  

History of cooperation

Humanitarian support first and foremost since 1997

SDC has been present in Cuba since 1997, primarily focusing on humanitarian projects, particularly in the medical field. In 2000, SDC set up a cooperation office in Havana and developed a special cooperation programme. After an exploratory phase (2000–03), the Swiss programme focused on two priorities – local development and sustainable economic development. These priorities were maintained until 2011 when the transversal issue of gender was added. As part of the current Cooperation Strategy (2017–21), the programme is focusing on a single area of activity – local development.

Current projects

Object 13 – 15 of 15

PEGIN - Promoción de la Equidad de Género con Incidencia Nacional

01.04.2015 - 30.06.2021

Formada por seis organizaciones cubanas la plataforma PEGIN busca incidir en políticas nacionales para promover procesos políticos y sociales a favor de la igualdad de género y para evitar que las reformas actuales no crean nuevas discriminaciones. Además, el proyecto contribuye a incorporar los principios de igualdad de género en todo el programa de COSUDE (transversalización).

AGRI-CHAINS – Development of agri-food chains at the local level

01.05.2014 - 30.06.2020

The AGROCADENAS Project, developed by the Ministry of Agriculture and the European Union with the contribution of Switzerland, seeks to improve food security through increased local production and dynamic processing and marketing. It supports three key agri-food chains (grains, cow milk and beef), benefiting 10,000 producers directly and over 1.6 million inhabitants in selected municipalities indirectly

Support to the Creation of Second-tier Cooperatives in the Farming Sector in Cuba

01.10.2012 - 31.08.2019

The programme promotes the establishment of non-state organizations (second-tier cooperatives) for the provision of services and products to improve the productivity of small farmers and agricultural cooperatives. These early experiences in the country will provide for learning experiences that will facilitate the development of these self-managed organizations and will contribute to food security.

Object 13 – 15 of 15