The Great Lakes Region covering, for the purpose of this project, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda and Uganda, has witnessed some of the direst conflicts on the African continent. Burundi has faced ongoing struggles since before its independence. Rwanda's 1994 genocide shook the world, but at the time little was effectively undertaken to stop it. In Uganda the decade long rebellion of the Lord's Resistance Army fuelled by uneven developments and the push back by the army left ghastly wounds throughout the region. And more than 5 million people have died as the result of the conflict in the DRC, Africa's World War. Those cycles of conflicts are rooted in tensions over ethnicity and citizenship, grievances over access to resources, in poverty and inequality and in unregulated population movement among others.
Yet the region has also seen striking economic growth in Rwanda, some relatively fair elections, the setting up or reinforcement of regional institutions such as the International Conference of the Great Lakes (ICGLR) and most recently the signing of a Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework in Addis Abbeba by 11 regional states, the United Nations, African Unions, Southern African Development Community and the ICGLR.