22 Dec 2011

Loans for small business now available in Cuba

4:30 pm on 22 December 2011

Banks in Cuba now offer loans to small businesses and the self-employed, as well as farmers and people building their own homes.

According to Granma, the official Communist Party newspaper, each applicant will be assessed on the basis of what the loan is to be used for and how it will be repaid.

Interest rates will depend on the length of the loan and will be within a range set by Cuba's Central Bank.

The BBC reports the minimum loan will be about $US125 for the self-employed and about $US40 for farmers.

People will also be able to open current accounts and use cheques, debit cards and bank transfers to make payments.

Bank loans are the latest in a series of measures introduced by President Raul Castro in an effort to revive the economy by boosting private enterprise.