Cuba: Portfolio of Opportunities for Foreign Investment, 2016–17

For the third time in as many years, Cuba’s Ministry of Foreign Trade and Investment has published an impressive compilation of development projects open to foreign participation. The latest report details 395 business opportunities, up from the 326 in 2015 and 246 in 2014. The most pressing investment priorities remain unchanged: tourism, to earn badly needed foreign exchange (114 projects listed in the latest edition); energy, to replace declining subsidies from Venezuela (87 hydrocarbon projects and 23 that focus on renewables); and agriculture, to address food insecurity and promote export diversification (76 general agricultural projects and 13 more in the sugar industry). This long list of projects makes clear that many Cuban officials are well aware of their country’s pressing needs and realize that foreign firms could make vital contributions to the island’s future prosperity. Nevertheless, the government’s approval of foreign investment projects outside the tourism sector remains frustratingly slow, the result of bureaucratic sclerosis and lingering ideological opposition in some quarters of the leadership.

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