Population and its implications for resource development in the Lake Victoria Basin
Oucho, John O.
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The Lake Victoria Basin population cluster is the most distinctive and largest population region in the Kenya, smaller concentrations being found in central and coastal parts of the country. It is generally a densely settled area where rapid population growth and its inherent features pose considerable challenge to the relatively undeveloped resource base in the region. Despite its potentialities the lake basin has remained an economic back-water, thereby engendering out-migration to other more developed parts of the country. With the recent proclamation of the Lake Victoria Basin Development Authority (L.V.B.D.A.) the importance of "water resource" has been underscored, and it is everybody's expectation that a workable framework will be instituted to foster carefully planned development in the "catchment area" of the lake basin. This paper examines the population factor in developing this and other closely related resources. First and foremost, the paper portrays the demographic background, placing special emphasis on population distribution and density; its structure in demographic and socio-economic terms; population movements and its determinants; and the urban hierarchy on which spatial physical planning has been modelled with little success in the region. In the second part of the paper, this demographic background is focussed on the L.V.B.D.A. in order to explore possibilities of regulating demographic trends and characteristics to suit planning and development within the framework of the L.V.B.D.A. In the final analysis, the paper contends that the population factor is most crucial, and that drastic changes are inevitable if the L.V.B.D.A. is or be seen, to effect development in the region. But micro-differences in the lake basin districts will necessitate their classification in an attempt to design their development against demographic - ecological realities.