can learn from companies based in other countries, including Australia, Chile, Japan, South
Africa and the United Kingdom, among others, that have planned and executed joint-venture
projects in partnership with the Cuban government.
Brazil-based construction and engineering firm Odebrecht completed a US$957 million
port project in 2014 that established a free-trade zone and distribution center in Mariel, west
of Havana. Projects with foreign investors, including those from Brazil, China, Italy, Russia
and Spain, are reportedly underway in the development zone. Construction projects could
deliver facilities for plastics production and food and tobacco processing, among other uses.
An Unfunded Portfolio
Beyond the Mariel free-trade zone, the Cuban government has plans for several projects to
develop its distressed economy—and it’s looking to foreign partners to help fund them. Its
Portfolio of Opportunities for Foreign Investment report, released in November 2014, details 246
projects worth US$8.7 billion. This portfolio focuses on three sectors: energy, agriculture and
For example, a 300-acre (121-hectare) golf course community is
being developed by British-based London & Regional Properties in a
joint venture with Palmares, a Cuban government agency. Slated to be
completed in phases by 2022, the initiative aims to put Cuba on the
map as a golf and leisure destination and will offer non-Cubans a rare
opportunity to purchase a residence there.
The more than US$300 million program will include up to 1,000
residential villas and condos, an 18-hole golf course, a tennis academy, a hotel and a country club. Construction is scheduled to begin
in April 2016. London & Regional’s experience with the initiative
thus far has been positive, although there have been challenges, says
Havana Harbor in
In November, the Cuban government released its Portfolio of Opportunities for Foreign Investment
report to attract project sponsors.
Here is a sampling from the three
sectors on which it focuses.
Maisí wind farm: This four-phase
project in the Guantanamo province would contribute 174 megawatts of power to the national grid.
Budget: US$285 million
Union Eléctrica solar farms: Each
farm would boost the country’s re-newable energy supply by between
5 and 15 megawatts.
Budget: US$1. 5-2 million per
megawatt of installed power
Cienfuegos golf resort development: The project in Cienfuegos
province would include two hotels,
three golf courses, a clubhouse and
3,600 housing units.
Budget: US$580 million
Loma Linda golf resort development: This project would include
two 18-hole golf courses, a clubhouse, a 170-room hotel and 1,300
homes and condos.
Budget: US$380 million
Soybean processing plant: A
joint venture with the Corporación
Alimentaria S.A., the project would
build a facility to process 500,000
tons of soybeans annually to produce flour and oil.
Budget: US$149 million
Vegetable growing houses:
Empresa de Cítricos Ceiba would
lead construction of covered growing house “modules,” which would
produce vegetables for exporting.
Budget: US$6 million
—Desmond Taljaard, London
& Regional, London, England