Pan African Connection
Bringing Literacy, Education and Development to disadvantaged communities across Africa
Contracts and the rule of Law
Right from the start a mechanism to help marginalized communities had to begin with a paradigm that
allowed for growth. It starts with a commitment to stay engaged by all parties for a long time. This is best
for these communities as it means the introduction of longer term, low interest loans.
So it was conceptualized that the “starter kit” into these communities be modest enough but also have
the modularity built-in to allow for seamless integration of growth.
Moving from literacy to basic education will require more bandwidth, server capacity, more workstation
installations and so on. But once the community is able see palpable results in their surroundings they
will embrace further investments for their own and their children’s future.
The introduction into the rigors of getting into a contract with the supervising NGO, the delivery
mechanism (Pan-African Connection) and some of the content providers, has the intended effect of
bringing the capacities of dealing with contracts and agreements under the rule of law. These capacities
are unfortunately often needed in other areas in their communities, and more likely to be encountered
as they endeavor to increase their local economy.
It may seem as an academic exercise to train people on the implications of contracts and the rule of law,
but many a better informed business person or agent have come into their communities and pillaged
their profits away on speculative and distorted pricing schemes, leaving them with no means for conflict
resolution or the ability to recover damages.
Obviously, they will also learn the responsibilities that accompany a contractual agreement. In short, the
knowledge gained best prepares them to build a network of contractual agreements while maintaining
the protections of the rule of law.
One of the unintended but predicted effects of participation in the cost of breaking the shell of endless
cycles of poverty in these communities is the empowerment of ownership. It will be their project (local
and regional) as much as anyone else’s. This sense of ownership will also give them the impetus for
protecting their interests thus safeguarding the investments made.