‘Invest in Lake Victoria to earn $800m annually’

30Nov 2020
Marc Nkwame
The Guardian
‘Invest in Lake Victoria to earn $800m annually’

​​​​​​​MEMBERS of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) have called on East African Community (EAC) member states to come up with investment plans so as to earn $800 million (about 2trn/-) annually, saying this is the potential resource worth of the basin.

Regional legislators made this affirmation at the weekend, describing the lake as the largest underutilized blue economy asset “whose wealth can jointly be exploited and shared among EAC member states,” as they endorsed a vital bill aimed at the protection of the vast water body.

Rwanda member Fatuma Ndangiza told the House that Lake Victoria held the prospect of generating over US $800million to the regional economy comprising of six member states so far.

The just passed Lake Victoria Basin Commission Bill, 2019 is intended to give more autonomy to the commission in discharging its duties. The bill is set to provide more authority and powers to the LVBC which is pivoted in Kisumu, Kenya.

Kenyan member Abdulkadir Aden said that tapping the potential of the blue economy is already riding high in the regional development agenda for the EAC.

“The work of the Lake Victoria Commission should thus be handled more effectively, by exploiting existing opportunities and harnessing the fishing industry to enhance livelihoods," he urged.

The passage of the bill follows a long period of waiting starting June 2007 when the EAC Council of Ministers introduced the bill for its first reading. When it came to the second reading in February 2011, the council moved a motion to withdraw it to allow for more consultations.

Managing the Lake Victoria Basin is a core function in the work of the EAC Secretariat via the commission, which in the aftermath of the bill it will now be capable of mobilizing funds directly from donors for project execution.

Mapped over 60,000 square kilometers, the lake is shared by Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya, and in recent months it was reported to be experiencing an increase in commercially viable fish stocks.

Tanzania has around 49 percent of the lake surface area; Uganda 45 percent and Kenya six percent of the surface area.

The lake includes many exotic and unique fish species, like cichlids. Invasive fish such as the Nile perch introduced commercially in past decades, is believed to have driven many endemic species to virtual extinction. Read More...https://epaper.ippmedia.com