Díaz-Canel tells Cuban business it must become competitive

Cuban business must ‘immediately promote a culture of innovation to solve the most pressing problems of the country’, President Díaz-Canel has told a high-level meeting.

In remarks critical of the state enterprise sector’s failure to respond to previous calls for change, he told the bodies that effectively control state enterprises that Cuba has the expertise in science, technology and innovation required to deepen the connection between the knowledge sector, the productive sector, services, and the activities of government.

Despite forty-three measures having been approved to strengthen state enterprises, he said, “there is still inertia in terms of proposals”, notwithstanding the challenge posed by the epidemic and the resurgence of the embargo.

“The gaze of those who lead the companies and the Government Boards must be towards this, see what obstacles we have to eliminate, what elements can allow another motivation for the business sector to boost our economy,” he told a 17 November meeting.

Cuba’s President went on to observe that Cuba was not even in the Global Innovation Index copublished by Cornell University, INSEAD, and the UN’s World Intellectual Property Organisation. “I expose those elements”, he said, “because we lack culture on these issues, mainly in the business sector”.

At the moment, Díaz-Canel observed, innovation in Cuba is led by the knowledge system and the universities and the research centres. However, in this process companies are poorly represented, with the exception of integrated business systems such as BioCubaFarma which he said had successfully linked science, production and commercialisation.

“We need a government management (system) that stimulates innovation, and we are building it; an innovative business system, and there is still a long way to go; a regulatory framework, which we have, and a financial one, in which the steps are being taken; and the human potential that the country has created”, he told the meeting which was also addressed by Marino Murillo, the Head of the Permanent Commission for Implementation and Development.

Díaz-Canel said that the way government had responded to COVID-19 was a guide. By summoning experts and bringing together those who know how to manage innovation with the scientific community and individuals from all disciplines, Cuba had succeeded in addressing the disease.

We have all the conditions in the country to do it, Cuba’s President insisted, but the business sector must boost it “in all dimensions, at the national, territorial, sectoral and above all at the local level”, he was quoted by the state media as saying.

We need a business sector that acts, that proposes, that implements actions that improve, actions to achieve progress in the economic and social development of the country, in a more sustainable, more intense and faster way, he concluded.

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