HAVANA – Rolling out the welcome mat for foreign investors does not imply the “privatization” of the Cuban economy, a senior official said in comments appearing in Friday’s edition of Communist Party daily Granma.
Deborah Rivas, the head of foreign investment at the Ministry of External Trade and Foreign Investment, told the paper that Cuba already has more than 200 enterprises funded by foreign capital, including 35 authorized since the March 2014 enactment of a revised Foreign Investment Act.
“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 privatization 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 U.S. companies in doing business in Cuba, Rivas said that because Washington 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 normalization.
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.