If you asked a selection of people about their impression of Cuba they would likely mention Fidel Castro, cigars, violence and drugs. These are common subjects often associated with Cuba which have clouded the future or this potentially prosperous nation. Even though there is much work to be done there is no doubt that the Cuban authorities have addressed many of the problems going forward and progress has been made. But what can you expect if you move to Cuba?
In many ways Cuba is one of a dying breed of countries where the economy is effectively controlled by the government and the state employees around 76% of the population. While on the surface these figures are concerning when you consider that the ratio in 1981 was 91% employed by the state and 9% by private employers then the situation becomes clearer.
At this moment in time the Cuban economy is dominated by agriculture, industry, tourism, oil and surprisingly to many people the country has a world-class biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry. The latter two areas of the Cuban economy are seen by many as the future of Cuba and with more and more overseas investment coming into country it seems that the authorities have finally realised that without overseas investment the prospects for the economy are limited to say the least.
Living costs in Cuba
Even in this age of transparency, the Internet and interest in overseas nations, there are still many details of life in Cuba which are not available to the outside world. The government still has a very tight control on the cost of everyday goods even if there has been a small but definitive move towards a free economy. Even the most optimistic of people would concede that it will take some time for the Cuban economy to become a “free economy” but even the most sceptical of observers would also concede that progress had been made.
The cost-of-living in Cuba will vary between the inner cities to the more rural areas and it has to be said that poverty is still a major issue in many parts of the country. However, when you consider that a midrange meal for two in Cuba could set you back just $40, an inexpensive meal for one around seven dollars and domestic beer and imported beer around $1.5 you begin to get an idea of the cost-of-living Cuba.
Property in Cuba
Historically the ownership of land in Cuba has been very difficult for overseas investors to secure with relatively short leases of just 50 years available. However, the authorities have made significant changes over the last three months and a 99 year lease will now be commonplace in relation to the ownership of Cuban property by overseas investors. Many believe this will kick-start the Cuban tourist industry with golf courses and other attractions on the way.
There is no doubt that Cuba, like so many countries in the area, has struggled to pull away from historic problems and issues. However, the Cuban authorities have begun to release the purse strings and tighten their grip on the Cuban economy in the hope that poverty will be reduced and the general standard of living across the country improved.