Photo: Ricardo López Hevia

On Monday, August 28, the Central Bank of Cuba (BCC) became the newest member of the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) after representatives from both institutions signed the CABEI’s Constitutive Agreement in Havana.
The signing, which took place at the BCC headquarters, was presided by CABEI Executive President, Nick Rischbieth and President of the BCC Irma Martínez, in the presence of Ricardo Cabrisas, a vice president of Cuba’s Council of Ministers and minister of Economy and Planning.
After the signing, both parties congratulated one another noting that, as well as Cuba’s approval as a new member of the CABEI, the agreement also features development projects for the region.
According to Martínez and Rischbieth, with the signing of the agreement, Cuba officially became a member of this important multi-lateral regional institution, which will enable the country to further strengthen its already vast network of relations with Central American nations, and contribute toward supporting economic, social development, and integration projects financed by the institution.
According to the official CABEI website, the bloc was founded in 1960 “to promote the economic integration and balanced economic and social development of its founding countries… provides financing to the public and private sectors, specialized in attracting and channeling external resources, complementary and additional to those provided by other sources, to promote investment and development opportunities in its sphere of influence.”
CABEI founding members are Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica, while its non-regional members include Mexico, the Republic of China (Taiwan), Argentina, Colombia, and Spain. Subsequently, Panama and the Dominican Republic joined as non-founding regional members, and Belize also joined as a non-founding beneficiary member.
During the signing ceremony, Rischbieth highlighted that all CABEI  members wholeheartedly support Cuba’s entry into the bloc, recalling that he recognized the island’s various projects and investment potential during his first visit to Cuba in May of 2016.
He went on to note that Cuba’s entry into the CABEI was unanimously approved in April of this year during the institution’s 57th Board of Governors meeting.
Meanwhile, Irma Martínez expressed her satisfaction with the signing which could greatly benefit the country’s economic development.
The CABEI specializes in attracting and providing financing for sectors such as production; energy; agriculture; rural, urban and human development; as well as social infrastructure.
Meanwhile, the CABEI Executive President also reported that Cuba’s entry into the group comes after modifications were made to its Constitutive Agreement in June of 2016, in response to the call made by Central American Integration System (SICA) member states to strengthen regional integration. (PL)