Cuba & Venezuela Economy To Grow Above Regional Average

Cuba and Venezuela are set to see positive GDP growth in 2022, above the regional average, according to forecasts by the UN’s Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (CEPAL) which has released its annual report this month. 

The report predicts that in 2022, the Cuban economy will grow by 3.5%, and that of Venezuela will grow by 3%. This places Cuba and Venezuela above the regional average of 2.1% for Latin America and the Caribbean, they also beat countries such as Chile (1.9%) and Ecuador (2.6%), bottom of the table is Brazil with an expected growth of just 0.5%. Bolivia is on course for a rise of 3.2% and Nicaragua should see 3%.

While the figures for Cuba and Venezuela are positive, the report is gloomy about much of the situation in the rest of the continent, where the regional average of 2.1% is well below the 6.2% reached in 2021. CEPAL states in the report that; 

“The decline in consumption growth rates will intensify from the beginning of next year, in a context in which the recovery of the labor market has not been very dynamic and the increase in inflation will have an impact on disposable income and household spending. To this, we can add the uncertainty about the pandemic, which will persist throughout 2022. “

Venezuela has benefited from the rise in the price of oil and the reconstruction of the local oil industry, which had suffered under years of US sanctions. Economy Minister Tareck El Aissami addressed the nation on December 26, 2021 to inform that the state oil company PDVSA was closing the year producing over 1000 barrels a day, more than double compared to the end of the year before. 

In a recent interview with Iranian broadcaster Al Mayadeen, President Nicolás Maduro said, “2021 has been the first year of economic recovery since the economic war began… Despite the U.S. criminal sanctions, the production of food, goods, and services grows. Domestic industries and trade also increase, which has a great impact on the People.”

Cuba will also be hoping for a strong economic performance following a tightening of sanctions during the Trump period, followed by the Covid-induced travel bans that have hit the tourism sector hard. The country joined China’s Belt and Road Initiative at the end of 2021, a move that could help bring in investments for crucial infrastructure projects