HAVANA.— The case of Cuba stands out because it is open to foreign investment, but selects important sectors for the country and protects domestic jobs, Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), said on April 28 in Havana.

The Mariel Special Development Zone is an example of the use of competitive advantages in the foreign investment process. Photo: Jose M. Correa. Photo: Jose M. Correa

The health of the economy in the Caribbean and Central America is something that the country should take into account, because it is in this area where its competitors in terms of attracting foreign capital are found, she told AIN, whilst participating in the 1st International Seminar on Opportunities and Challenges for the Development of Latin America and Cuba, which took place over two days at the Meliá Cohiba Hotel, in Havana.

Whilst in 2015 Latin America's Gross Domestic Product as a whole is not forecast to increase by more than 1%, in the Caribbean area this could grow by 1.9%, she announced.

This situation should be taken advantage of, in order that, rather than rivals, these nations become allies, she clarified, because nothing prevents them from establishing a chain of investment, in which each economy provides the best it has to offer, especially in regards to nautical tourism and maritime transport, which are sectors predisposed to development given the natural conditions of the region.

I believe the Mariel Special Development Zone is an example of the use of competitive advantages in the foreign investment process, because distance makes the export of Latin American products to other continents more expensive, but the Cuban port could be used as a layover and shipping platform, she predicted.

Parallel to the injection of foreign capital, she considered it an appropriate strategy to continue promoting the export of health services and educational consultancy.

In the future, when the country's infrastructure problems are resolved, Cuba could also export products related to Information Technology and Communications, Bárcena stressed, as it has the personnel with the training and qualifications necessary to create them.