The large rift lakes of Africa are the ancient home of great biodiversity; 10% of the world's fish species live there.
Countries in the African Great Lakes region (sometimes also called Greater Lakes region) include Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. A conference was held on the lakes region in 2017 in Uganda.
The Great Lakes area, where colonial era borders cut through ethnic groups, has in the last 20 years been a crucible of conflict that has launched multiple uprisings and invasions. The United Nations, the United States, and several European countries have special envoys or representatives to the Great Lakes region. On June 18, 2013, Russ Feingold was appointed United States Special Representative for the region by United States Secretary of State John Kerry. He announced his departure from the position on February 24, 2015. Laurence D. Wohlers was appointed to the position in January 2017.
The following are included on most lists of the African Great Lakes, grouped by drainage basin:
The exact number of lakes considered part of the African Great Lakes varies by list, and may include smaller lakes in the rift valleys, especially if they are part of the same drainage basin as the larger lakes, such as Lake Kyoga.
The Bantu Swahili language is the most commonly spoken language in the African Great Lakes region. It also serves as a national or official language of four nations in the region: Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.