The local business community has been challenged to make most of the existing regional water bodies, especially Lake Victoria and Lake Tanganyika, because they represent enormous economic opportunities.
The call was made by Gerson Fumbuka, an official from Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC), an organization that oversees the use of regional waters. He is currently in the country to help raise public awareness on the economic potential of such water bodies.
He said that while the water bodies were being exploited by Tanzanian, Kenyan and Ugandan nationals, it was time that the lakes benefit other East Africans as well, including Rwandans.
“Rwandans should get involved in the use of these waters. As long as you’re a citizen from any East African country, you have every right to do business in any lake in the region”, he said.
“We have investors from as far as Europe who are carrying out business on Lake Victoria, Lake Tanganyika and others; so why shouldn’t Rwandans do the same to help develop our region”, he asked.
However, Abdul Ndarubogoye, a local businessman, cited poor infrastructure around the lakes.
“The infrastructure close to these lakes are extremely poor, especially roads. The Commission should invest in putting in place infrastructure that can facilitate our involvement”.
During the first-ever Lake Tanganyika Basin Development Conference, which was held in the Burundian capital, Bujumbura, the Secretary General of the East African Community, Dr Richard Sezibera, expressed the need to raise awareness among the partner states about the opportunities in the lake.
“We want people to be fully aware of the potentials available in the lake; there are lots of potential benefits that need to be tapped”.
The lake is shared by four countries; Tanzania, Burundi, DRC and Zambia.