The East African Community has designated Lake Victoria and its Basin as an "area of common economic interest" and a "regional economic growth zone" to be developed jointly by the Partner States. And Lake Victoria is the focus of new attention following the declaration by the East African Community Heads of State that a joint programme be developed for the overall management and rational utilization of the shared resources of the Lake.
The East African Community established the Lake Victoria Basin Commission formerly known as the Lake Victoria Development Programme in 2001, as a mechanism for coordinating the various interventions on the Lake and its Basin; and serving as a centre for promotion of investments and information sharing among the various stakeholders. The programme is the driving force for turning the Lake Victoria Basin into a real economic growth zone.
The commission envisages a broad partnership of the local communities around the Lake, the East African Community and its Partner States as well as the development partners. The commission’s activities are focusing on the:
- Harmonization of policies and laws on the management of the environment in the Lake and its catchment area;
- Continuation of the environmental management of the Lake, including control and eradication of the water hyacinth;
- Management and conservation of aquatic resources, including fisheries;
- Economic activities in the development of fishing, industry, agriculture and tourism; and
- Development of infrastructure, including revamping the transport system on and around the Lake.
The Commission further places emphasis on poverty eradication and the participation of the local communities. It is expected to make a significant contribution towards reduction of poverty by uplifting the living standards of the people of the Lake region. This is to be achieved through economic growth, investments and sustainable development practices that are cognizant of the environment.