In response to the recent global economic downturn and domestic inefficiencies, Cuba began a dramatic economic readjustment process in 2011, under the leadership of Raúl Castro, which moved the country from a centrally planned economy towards a mixed economic system.
The reforms aimed to stimulate private enterprise and foreign investment, slash nearly one million state jobs, plus cut state subsidies of food. Additionally, over 170 types of private businesses were approved for licensing. Unifying the country's two currencies was outlined as a longer term goal. As of January 2017, the “two currency” system remains in place.
In spite of the blockade with the US, tourism continues to grow and is a key source of hard currency. Cuban doctors, teachers, and other professionals working abroad in return for raw materials such as oil are significant contributors to the country's continued survival. Among the international community, Cuba has experienced a warming of relations since the economic reforms and increased cooperation with the likes of China, Russia, France, Spain, Mexico and Japan, among others.