On 20th March 2018, BINUS UNIVERSITY hosted a guest lecture by the Third Secretary of the Embassy of the Republic of Cuba to the Republic of Indonesia, Mr Michael Gonzales Castro, at its Anggrek Campus in Jakarta. The lecture was themed, ‘The Update Process of the Cuban Economic and Social Model’, which illustrated to attendees Cuba’s ongoing economic reform programmes as it aims for greater self-sufficiency across all major sectors. The diplomat was welcomed by BINUS UNIVERSITY’s Deputy Vice Rector of Research and Technology Transfer Prof Dr Tirta Mursitama.
Mr Castro explained to visitors that Cuba's economy was dominated by state-owned enterprises with its main industries consisting of the export of sugar, tobacco, coffee, nickel and medical products. When the USSR collapsed in 1991 — at that time it was Cuba’s largest trading partner — the country entered into an economic crisis, and the population suffered from severe shortages of basic goods.
In response to this crisis, the government introduced several market-orientated reforms such as authorizing self-employment for 150 occupations, opening the country for tourism, legalizing the US dollar, and allowing foreign investment. Moreover, as of 2012, the reforms were widened in order to develop the private sector as well as to gain better access to global markets.
Although the majority of Indonesia’s trade is conducted with regional partners — most notably China and Japan — the country is also focusing its efforts on expanding into the Latin American markets. As such, BINUS UNIVERSITY can act as a bridge between academic and corporate entities from Indonesia and countries from this region; providing the foundation for meaningful collaborations through research, trade, student and faculty exchange, and other knowledge sharing initiatives.