Press Releases

Organizers Announce Launch of Special Economic Zone on Island of Roatán

May 6, 2020

An International development group, in cooperation with the government of Honduras, announced today the launch of Roatán Próspera, a special economic zone on the island of Roatán designed to foster entrepreneurship and sustainable economic development initiatives that will create jobs and strengthen and diversify the Roatán economy.

The zone is expected to attract over $500M in foreign direct investment by 2025. As part of the initial wave of socioeconomic development projects, the developers announced partnerships with Cemesa to build a new hospital, the Technical University of Munich (TUM) to create a University and educational center, a leading Latin American energy company to build renewable energy facilities, and others.

The developers also announced the pre-sale marketing of residential units designed by the London-based, world-class architecture firm of Zaha Hadid Architects. The units’ design combines advanced digital timber fabrication techniques with sustainably-sourced local materials and labor, and seeks to reflect the most advanced concepts in architectural design through the prism of local culture.

Erick Brimen, CEO of Honduras Próspera LLC, the development group, stated: “These world-class enterprises have been attracted to Roatán Próspera because it is a vibrant platform for success for local and international businesses and entrepreneurs. Roatán Próspera will be an unprecedented creator of jobs and diversified socioeconomic development for Roatan, and the rest of the Bay Islands of Honduras.”

Tristan Monterosso, a lifelong Roatán resident and Technical Secretary for the Próspera ZEDE, stated: “The COVID crisis has shown the vulnerability of the tourism industry on which the island of Roatán has historically depended. While I am confident that tourism will recover, diversifying our Roatán economy is an urgent priority. To do that, we need to attract investment, which is exactly what Roatán Próspera is doing.”

Brimen explained that Roatán Próspera is built upon a next-generation form of Special Economic Zone called ZEDEs (“Zonas de empleo y desarrollo económico”), which were enabled by the Honduran constitution and subsequently approved by a supermajority of the National Congress.

The key evolution of this form of Special Economic Zone over prior ones created in Honduras and throughout the world, is that ZEDEs enable the Government of Honduras, in cooperation with international development organizations and investors, to adopt proven reforms within the SEZs that significantly enhance the overall rule of law and institutional environment that protects human rights and enhances the ease of doing business. The ZEDE program is overseen by an oversight committee, the CAMP (“Comité para la Adopción de Mejores Prácticas”), created by the Honduran Congress.

The Supreme Court of Honduras retains final control over the special court circuit the Constitution authorizes to serve for ZEDE related disputes. The legal structure put in place for Roatán Próspera and approved by CAMP has been evaluated by the leading U.S. consulting firm Ernst & Young. Based on the World Bank's "Ease of Doing Business" methodology, E&Y found that Roatán Próspera would rank among the top-ten jurisdictions in the world for entrepreneurial initiatives, particularly in the realms of healthcare, education, agricultural innovation and processing, aeronautics, financial services, and logistics.

Among the founding principles of the Honduras Próspera group is respect for the rights of the Honduran people and the sovereignty of the Honduran government. “We are committed to creating opportunity for Honduran people to remain and prosper in their country,” Brimen said. Brimen added that Roatán Próspera is the first geographical hub his group is launching but that plans are far advanced for a second hub, near the mainland city of La Ceiba, that will feature a major industrial park. InSITE BAVARIA, a German business-location consulting firm associated with the Technical University of Munich, is the lead advising firm for the La Ceiba project.

The developers and advisers believe the La Ceiba hub is ideally located for U.S., Canadian and Latin American companies to address the disruption of supply chains originating in Asia whose vulnerability was exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Relocating supply chains to Central America would create shorter, more predictable and environmentally preferable solutions for companies in many industries. Also today, the developers launched a website announcing the Roatán Próspera project and providing further details about the Próspera vision.