Discussions on social and policy dimensions of the Lake Victoria Basin (LVB) centre on the inhabitants of the basin and their livelihood strategies which are defined by environmental stewardship and natural resource utilization. This paper presents a contextual narrative of the people of the LVB and their livelihood. It sets the stage for an ecosystem assessment of the basin’s social and economic implication of natural resource state, trends and vulnerabilities. The demographic characteristics and selected social indicators for the basin are presented with a focus on implications to sustainable resource management. A description of fishing together with other main occupational activities of the basin’s inhabitants is presented with emphasis on strategies, impacts, challenges and vulnerabilities that the current resources extraction activities impose on the people and environment. Owing to the transboundary nature of the basin, it is recognised that the people and institutional framework of the basin including the East African Community (EAC) together with subsidiary arrangements such as the Lake Victoria Development Programme (LVDP) hold the key to a joint and sustainable management of the basin. The policy areas singled out as important include: ecosystems, natural resources and environment; production and income generation; living conditions and quality of life; population and demography; and governance and institutional order.
Keywords: Socio-economics, policy framework, Lake Victoria basin, livelihoods, sustainable development