Countries from Portugal to Cuba among others made investment pitches at Annual Investment Meeting (AIM) on Tuesday.

While Cuba sought investments in exploration of natural resources, mining even as it shifts its foreign policy on investment after the removal of sanctions, Portugal welcomed start-ups promising entrepreneurs of a good quality life.

“We have set up a company to promote infrastructure. We are working on construction of ports and various other contracts,” Antonio Luis Carricarte, vice-minister of foreign trade and investments, Cuba, told delegates at the AIM, adding that in 2015 the country had 326 running projects.

The Cuba’s National Assembly recently passed a new foreign investment law that halved the profits tax from 30 to 15 per cent and exempted investors from paying it for eight years, among other provisions, to bring back foreign investments in a country that was cut off from the US investments due to a trade embargo.

Cuba needs to attract $2 billion (Dh7.34 billion) to $2.5 billion in foreign direct investments (FDI) per year to reach its economic growth target of 7 per cent, the country’s minister for foreign trade and investment, Rodrigo Malmierca, was quoted as saying.

“We want investments in energy, we need to install 2,000 mega watts of power capacity, which may include bio-power and that would be linked to sugar mills, and also hydro power stations. It’s a huge task and we are calling for investments in these sectors,” Carricarte said. Meanwhile, other officials from Mauritania, Namibia, Sri Lanka also made their investment pitches at the conference.

Startup Portugal

“We want to attract the next big companies. We want to attract cutting edge sectors to Portugal. We would do that by regulations and changing laws,” said Joao Vasconceios, secretary of state of industry, Portugal.

Portugal wants to be the first country in Europe to get driverless cars, to regulate drones, and the country is formulating a policy similar to its peers in the United States and the United Kingdom.

In March 2016, the country launched Startup Portugal, a national public strategy to foster entrepreneurship.

“We are still studying the policy and we are doing a benchmark with other countries worldwide,” Vasconceios said. adding “the future of economy is based on knowledge and creativity, investors are no more attracted by tax incentives or anything like that. There are new kind of companies that want creativity and best eco-system and these are companies that governments must focus on to be the part of in the 21st century economy.”