July 31, 2015
Schechter and DeLevie-Orey: What's Next in Havana
Three Washington-headquartered international financial institutions (IFI’s) should be nudged to help Cuba reform its economy. Last week the Atlantic Council released a report titled Cuba’s Economic Reintegration: Begin with the International Financial Institutions, authored by Cuban economist Pavel Vidal and former IMF economist Scott Brown. The report advocates that the Inter-American Development Bank, World Bank, and International Monetary Fund play a greater role in Cuba’s economic future, helping to address structural obstacles including a dual-currency system, poor and inaccessible statistical data, and weak infrastructure. It is a perfect marriage of what these organizations are set up to do and the kind of assistance Cuba needs.
The economic reintegration of previously isolated countries such as Vietnam, Albania and, most recently, Myanmar are examples of the benefits of the IFIs’ technical advice, structural reforms, and targeted assistance. The Atlantic Council’s report shows that, in Albania and Vietnam, IFI-supported increases in national income per capita were accompanied by improvements in health outcomes, education, and life expectancy. Transportation infrastructure and public utilities modernized.