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The Chair with Four Legs: LEAP Zones

By: Fergus Hodgson - @FergHodgson - Dec 11, 2013, 11:36 pm

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.

Fergus Hodgson Fergus Hodgson

Fergus Hodgson was the founding editor in chief of the PanAm Post, up until January 2016, and he now studies finance at Tulane University in Louisiana and Francisco Marroquín University in Guatemala. Originally from New Zealand, he has also lived in Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Ecuador, Ireland, and the United States. Follow @FergHodgson and his Facebook page.