Granma International
January 24, 2002

Foreign investment consolidating in Cuba

                   • Growing sales, net profits and income for island • Possibility of
                   further soft credits

                   BY RAISA PAGES (Granma International staff writer)

                   THE results achieved last year by the 400 economic associations
                   operating on the island demonstrate that foreign investments is
                   currently in a process of consolidation, according to Marta Lomas,
                   head of the Ministry of Foreign Investment and Economic
                   Cooperation (MINVEC).

                   Sales of goods and services by those 400 ventures, involving foreign
                   capital amounting to $5.5 billion USD, grew by 5%, exports by 4%,
                   and net profits by 19%, while income into the country increased by
                   8%. Cuba’s principal foreign associates are Spain, Canada, Italy,
                   France, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Venezuela, China, Panama, and

                   Of the existing 400 economic associations, 53% belong to the
                   European Union, although participation by China and Latin America
                   increased during last year. In addition other forms of association
                   were agreed, such as cooperative production ventures, now totaling
                   198 and involving 24 countries.

                   The possibility of acquiring resources in the form of soft credits from
                   the developed nations was announced at the meeting, chaired by
                   Government Minister Ricardo Cabrisas. In recent years, only China
                   has allowed access to that type of loan, and that nation facilitated $6
                   million USD and a donation of similar value to Cuba in 2001.

                   The reactivation of cooperation with the European Commission was
                   highlighted in MINVEC’s annual report, which specified that apart from
                   the economic value of these relations, there is a special significance in
                   the renewal of political dialogue between Cuba and that community
                   of nations.

                   Cuba has cooperative relations with 163 countries, five more than in
                   2000, with the incorporation of Djibouti, Eritrea, Ireland, Moldova and
                   Croatia. The joint commission mechanism has been established with
                   110 countries, including the autonomous regions of Spain, and last
                   year saw the largest number within the Latin American region.

                   Reciprocal Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements
                   covering 69 countries have been signed, and Denmark, Croatia,
                   Cambodia, Qatar, Mexico, Honduras, the Caribbean Community
                   (CARICOM), Mozambique and Finland were added to the list during

                   The conclusion of negotiations for the new 2001-2005 cooperation
                   program with Canada constitutes one of the most notable results of
                   the period covered in the MINVEC report. The signing of
                   memorandums of understanding for the execution of new projects
                   has already been initiated.

                   In relation to Spain, cooperative relations with the autonomous
                   regions were strengthened, a joint commission with Andalusia was
                   organized, and soft credits from the Basque Country were instigated.

                   COOPERATION INCREASES

                   Income received via cooperation programs in 2001 increased by
                   9.2% in relation to 2000. By this means $97,200,000 USD reached
                   the country, $82,600,000 USD in donations and $14,600,000 USD
                   in soft credits from China and the Basque Country.

                   A major part of the donations are obtained through cooperation
                   projects, of which 656 are being developed via bilateral sources,
                   non-governmental organizations and the multilateral route.

                   Although the global trend of decreasing contributions from
                   international agencies for development aid continues, the entry of
                   resources into Cuba via that route have increased, the result of work
                   undertaken to acquire funding from third, bilateral and multilateral
                   sources. The 100% execution of projects in conjunction with the UN
                   Development Program, the UN Fund for Population Activities and
                   UNICEF has played an influential role in this context.

                   The Local Human Development Program, an decentralized variant
                   already underway in Old Havana municipality and in the provinces of
                   Pinar del Río and Granma, is to be extended to the island’s entire
                   eastern region. The signing of an important project by the World
                   Food Program’s executive committee in Rome will significantly
                   contribute to the nutritional support of vulnerable groups in Cuba’s
                   eastern provinces. This program, valued at some $21 million USD, is
                   be carried out over four years, to the benefit of children of
                   pre-school age and in elementary schools, expectant and nursing
                   mothers, and children under two years of age.

                   CUBAN COLLABORATORS

                   Increased technical aid offered by Cuba was expressed by some
                   8,600 Cuban collaborators in 99 countries, of whom 47% offered
                   support as internationalists.

                   Some 19 countries benefited from the Cuban Integral Health
                   Program, through which the island contributes qualified human
                   resources for medical care.

                   During 2001 673 health workers traveled to 13 countries. In
                   addition, trilateral health support projects were signed with
                   Niger-Germany, South Africa-Mali, Switzerland-Mali, the European
                   Union-Guinea Bissau, and continuation was approved for those
                   already established with France-Haiti, Japan-Honduras and

                   According to Marta Lomas, in the Latin American context the priority
                   given to the Integral Cooperation Agreement signed by the Cuban
                   and Venezuelan presidents was maintained. Last year, eight
                   Venezuelan state governors visited the island and there are currently
                   912 Cuban collaborators in that South American nation, working in
                   the field of sports and public health, and including a group of sugar
                   industry experts.

                   Some 541 Venezuelan students are studying at the Latin American
                   School of Medical Science and the International Sports and Physical
                   Education College, or completing post-graduate degrees. Up to
                   1,299 Venezuelan patients, accompanied by 1,127 persons, have
                   received medical attention in Cuba, and 289 patients from that
                   country are still receiving hospital treatment.