The Chair with Four Legs: LEAP Zones


If you’ve been following the promising new regions in Honduras, the ZEDEs (zonas de empleo y desarrollo económico), you’ll have heard your share of terms for them. However, one of the most important figures in their development, Mark Klugmann — the only non-Honduran of three implementation commissioners — strongly prefers the term, “LEAP zones.”

The acronym stands for legal, economic, administrative, and political (LEAP), and he explained these elements in a PanAm Post commentary, leading up to the recent presidential election in Honduras: “Disruption! What the Honduran Elections Mean for the CAFTA Economies.” Further, he has clarified with me that startup cities are distinct, in that they may arise within LEAP zones, but that is putting the cart before the horse.

More recently, he accepted an interview with the Cato Institute, based in Washington, D.C., and shared a deeper examination of the topic.

There is a lot in this one, and it’s worth your time. Perhaps most important, Klugmann explains why this framework is so powerful. It does not require a confrontation with or a conversion of an entire nation, since it only utilizes smaller, opt-in regions for innovation. Further, it allows for rapid development, because it imports (outsources) particular elements of governance that have been successful and already generate trust and confidence. These would otherwise take centuries to establish.

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