Cuba could join multilateral fund within weeks

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CAF Executive President García

CAF Executive President García

CUBA STANDARD — Taking another leap towards integration with international finance and access to multilateral credit, Cuba could join the Corporación Andina de Fomento-Banco de Desarrollo para América Latina (CAF) in a matter of weeks, the head of the multilateral development fund told Reuters in an interview.

“We’re negotiating, and we hope we can announce something in the coming weeks,” CAF Executive President Enrique García said, according to Reuters.

Membership in CAF would be another big step in Cuba’s opening towards financial markets. Since at least 2008, Cuba has complied with terms of bilateral debt and renegotiated old debt with Germany, Mexico and Russia. In December, it agreed to a deal with the Paris Club of creditor nations, settling $11 billion in defaulted debt dating back to the 1980s.

CAF — Latin America’s second-largest development bank with close to $30 billion in assets – has European backing, through the membership of Spain and Portugal. Created in 1970, CAF  is made up of the governments of 19 countries — 17 of Latin America and the Caribbean, plus Spain and Portugal, as well as 14 private banks in the region. It provides credit, non-reimbursable resources, and financial structuring of projects. CAF is headquartered in Caracas, with offices in Buenos Aires, La Paz, Brasilia, Bogota, Quito, Madrid, Mexico City, Panama City, Asunción, Lima, Montevideo and Port of Spain.

In April, CAF held its first international workshop on the island, jointly with the University of Havana.

García told Reuters that CAF could provide technical assistance in Cuba’s efforts to attract foreign investment.

Cuba’s membership in CAF could be followed by more. Washington’s dropping of Cuba from its list of terror-sponsoring nations means the U.S. government won’t stand in the way anymore to Cuban membership in the United Nations’ World Bank and International Monetary Fund, as well as in the Interamerican Development Bank. Cuban officials have not made any statements recently whether they would want to apply for membership in any of these multilateral institutions; in the past, Cuban leaders have criticized the “dictates” of European- and U.S.-dominated multilateral funds.

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