HAVANA – Cuba hopes to attract more foreign investment at its biggest trade event, the 2019 Havana International Fair (FIHAV), to be held in November despite the fuel crisis the country is going through that affects transportation and the activities of companies and citizens.
“The circumstances are very difficult,” the director general of foreign investment at the Foreign Trade Ministry, Deborah Rivas, said during the presentation of the 4th Business Forum, which will form part of the 37th Havana International Fair, scheduled between Nov. 3-8.
Despite the adversities, she believes the Forum “will continue to attract foreign capital,” something the Cuban government considers fundamental to keeping its fragile economy afloat, and to “increase its contacts with companies” interested in investing in Cuba, especially in the Mariel Special Development Zone (ZEDM).
The ZEDM, a major project for attracting investment, has already approved 48 businesses, of which 25 are in operation, according to the director of the Single Window System of the project, Wendy Miranda.
These days Cuba faces its worst energy crisis since the 1990s, now that shipments of diesel from Venezuela have been partially curtailed, something the Cuban government attributes to the escalation of the US embargo and the restrictions placed by the Donald Trump administration on Venezuelan petroleum.
The last diesel tanker docked at the island last Saturday and no more will arrive until October, which has led to restrictions on transport and industrial production in the country, besides arousing fears of possible electricity blackouts. The government says, however, that this is a temporary situation that will be resolved next month.
The director general of foreign investment sent a calming message this Tuesday to current and potential investors in Cuba, assuring them that they will have every guarantee that their projects on the island are not at risk, and invited them to take advantage of the business opportunities offered at the Havana International Fair.
FIHAV brought together last year some 2,500 business owners and executives from more than 50 countries, with Spain the foreign country with the largest representation.
There it was announced that ZEDM had attracted over the previous 12 month investments worth $474 million, a record amount at that time.