Cuba authorises emigrants to invest in small projects

HAVANA, March 11th  (AFP)  Foreign-based Cubans will be allowed to invest in small projects such as rice, orange, and avocado plantations,

the government revealed on Wednesday in a bid to attract investment from the country’s diaspora.

“We’re focusing on small projects … that could be worth up to one million dollars,” in sectors such as agriculture, fishing, light industry, and manufacturing, said Katia Alonso, the official responsible for foreign investments.

With just over 11 million inhabitants, Cuba also has a diaspora of 1.5 million people in 40 countries, although the majority live in the United States.

Some had previously registered an interest in investing in the island nation but were put off by the multi-million dollar mega projects the communist government previously proposed.

These smaller projects are an attempt to convince the diaspora to take the plunge at a time when Cuba is in the midst of a severe economic crisis, with GDP having fallen 11 percent in 2020 to its lowest level since 1993.

In total, the government is proposing 503 projects worth a total of US$12.07 billion.

Cuba opened its economy to foreign investment following the fall of the Soviet Union, which plunged the country into serious economic trouble in the 1990s.

But the country is struggling to attract as many foreign companies as it would like as its own bureaucracy and US sanctions have discouraged many investors.

According to Alonso, there are around 280 foreign companies from 40 countries operating in Cuba.