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
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
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.
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.
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
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.