The African Great Lakes allow the citizens in these regions to be a self-reliant society, realizing their own vision of livelihoods, justice, equity, democracy, and peace.

The African Great Lakes

These lakes are some of the most valuable natural resources on our planet, representing a major portion of the world’s surface freshwater; harboring the most productive freshwater fisheries in the world; they are the headwaters to the three great rivers of Africa, the Nile, the Congo, and the Zambezi; and, they are global treasures of aquatic biodiversity, containing over 10% of all species of freshwater fish in the world.

 

But, many of the lakes' natural resources are threatened, in part by some of the highest population growth rates in Africa. A general migration towards freshwater resources by populations in desperate need of good quality potable water. The resources are being over-exploited: the fisheries’ current harvest and fishing methods are unsustainable and the benefits do not always accrue locally; urban and industrial pollution and sedimentation caused by deforestation and agriculture all negatively affect the lakes. The climate variability anticipated in the coming century

could threaten the water security and human well-being of much of sub-Saharan Africa, impeding the citizens in these regions to be a self-reliant society.

Each of the African Great Lakes varies in its biophysical and demographic characteristics, ecological and economic concerns, governance, and potential sustainable development interventions.