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Authoritarian regimes, genocides, and civil wars have plagued countries in the Great Lakes Region in recent years. The region’s nations rely heavily on natural resources—water, minerals, land—for their economic development, as well as for the livelihoods of their people, and many of the region’s conflicts are connected to these resources or other environmental factors. Water (as in the Zambezi and Nile River Basins), minerals (as in the Democratic Republic of Congo), fertile land (as in Zambia), or illegal hunting (as inthe Virunga National Park) are pressured by degradation and demand, which can spur conflict. Many people in rural Africa still live off the land and depend on what nature offers for their survival. Unfortunately, many of the continent’s gravest conflicts occur in these same areas.

About the Author

Patricia Kameri-Mbote

Patricia Kameri-Mbote

OSI Africa Policy Scholar;
Senior Lecturer, Department of Private Law, University of Nairobi
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Africa Program

The Africa Program works to address the most critical issues facing Africa and U.S.-Africa relations, build mutually beneficial U.S.–Africa relations, and enhance knowledge and understanding about Africa in the United States. The Program achieves its mission through in-depth research and analyses, including our blog Africa Up Close, public discussion, working groups, and briefings that bring together policymakers, practitioners, and subject matter experts to analyze and offer practical options for tackling key challenges in Africa and in U.S.-Africa relations.    Read more

Africa Program

The Africa Program works to address the most critical issues facing Africa and U.S.-Africa relations, build mutually beneficial U.S.–Africa relations, and enhance knowledge and understanding about Africa in the United States. The Program achieves its mission through in-depth research and analyses, including our blog Africa Up Close, public discussion, working groups, and briefings that bring together policymakers, practitioners, and subject matter experts to analyze and offer practical options for tackling key challenges in Africa and in U.S.-Africa relations.    Read more

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