Senior Cuban officials told participants at the 10th World Economic Forum on Latin America that the government is eager to receive foreign investment, and has taken measures to make Cuba an attractive investment destination. The meeting was a historic one for the country, which has recently initiated diplomatic relations with the US after half a century.
The Forum took place in Riviera Maya, Mexico from 6th – 8th May 2015. Main topics on the agenda were financial resilience, vigorous economic growth and poverty alleviation.
The Forum was also the first time Cuban officials have addressed foreign investors at a World Economic Forum meeting. The country’s delegation noted that Cuba has put in place transparent, stable regulatory framework for foreign businesses, with agriculture and biotechnology key sectors for future investment.
“Mexico is a strong supporter of the modernisation efforts under way in Cuba,” said José Antonio Meade Kuribreña, Secretary of Foreign Affairs of Mexico. Mexican businesses, building on the long-standing friendship between the two countries, are leading the way in investing in Cuba. A trip last year of 68 Mexican business leaders to Cuba has already resulted in 50 investment projects.
Cuba is especially interested in attracting investment in agriculture, since the country currently spends heavily on food imports. Even though all land belongs to the state, private investors can acquire 99-year leases and own everything built on and produced by the land. In other sectors, such as biotechnology, healthcare and tourism, Cuba has competitive advantages that should attract investment, Rivas said.
Lina Pedraza Rodríguez, Minister of Finance and Prices of Cuba, said that the country urgently needs to modernise its economy so as to protect the achievements of the Cuban Revolution. For that it requires foreign investment, including from the United States. “Cuba is open to investment from the United States. It has never been closed.” She said that her government has achieved a stabilisation of macroeconomic indicators, is engaged in productive negotiations with its foreign creditors, and is moving to eliminate its dual currency system. The state will maintain its leading role in the economy, but private and foreign companies can operate with their property rights secure.