Cuba to attract foreign investment without privatisation

Havana, March 5 (IANS) Cuba’s bid to attract foreign investors does not imply “accelerated privatisation” of the national economy, the media reported on Saturday.

Deborah Rivas, the head of foreign investment at the ministry of external trade and foreign investment, on Friday told daily Granma, that Cuba already has more than 200 enterprises funded by foreign capital, including 35 authorized ones since the March 2014 enactment of a revised Foreign Investment Act, EFE reported.

“The goal is not to sell the country, it’s not about doing just any project that interests some foreign investor. It’s a matter of attracting investors whose projects coincide with our public policy. We are not in a process of accelerated privatisation of the Cuban economy,” Rivas said.

While most investment comes from Europe and Canada, Cuba is pursuing a “diversification” of economic partners to avoid dependence on a single market, she said.

Regarding the growing interest among US companies in doing business in Cuba, Rivas said that because the US is maintaining its economic embargo against Cuba, “this is not one of the issues that will be resolved quickly” in the current process of bilateral normalisation.

Foreign investment is a pillar of the economic reform plan launched by President Raul Castro in 2011 to “update” Cuba’s socialist model.

The government has set a target of attracting roughly $2 billion a year in foreign direct investment, but experts estimate the real need is much greater.

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