Lake Kivu


Bio-physical and demographic characteristics

  • Shared by Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

  • The only lake among the AGL with high amounts of methane and CO2

  • Surface area = 2,370 km², shoreline = 860 km

  • Basin has a population of ~2 million people

  • One of the highest population densities and growth rates in the AGL region

  • Majority of the population lacks clean water and has poor sanitation

Values and investment opportunities

  • ~28 fish species, 50% of which are endemic cichlids with four introduced fish species

  • Biggest local source of fish in Rwanda and produces ~21,400 tons of fish per year with the introduced Lake Tanganyika sardine as the main fishery

  • Fishery supports ~500,000 people in Rwanda and the DRC

  • Extraction of large volumes of methane could generate substantial electric energy

  • High potential for tourism on islands and around the lake

Ecological and economic concerns

  • Lake shores and basin are densely populated with settlements

  • Localized eutrophication from land-use change along the lake shores

  • Sardine fishery is threatened by rapidly increasing fishing pressure

  • Deforestation, especially in Rwanda, is high due to the high population density

  • Reported conflicts among fishers from Rwanda and the DRC


  • Regional commission to coordinate policies and regulations for resource management

  • National policies and regulations to guide development and conservation of natural resources are in place

  • Some short-term regional projects have been implemented by international organizations

  • Limited funding from national governments and international groups

Potential sustainable development interventions

  • Improve the coordination of national management and promote community groups for development and conservation of natural resources

  • Establish sustainable funding mechanisms for development and conservation of natural resources

  • Enforce measures to ensure methane extraction is done sustainably and does not harm people and the environment

  • Determine levels for sustainable exploitation of the sardine fishery