Africa is facing a continent-wide shortage of potable water. Overall water quality has declined markedly during the past decade due to progressive land clearance, expanding human population, and rapid urbanization, all of which are socially and economically driven changes. Both biological diversity and water management objectives are threatened through the introduction of exotic plants and fish into reservoirs and lakes throughout the continent, with the most poignant example being Lake Victoria. Fish catches have declined drastically throughout Africa due to over-exploitation, declining water quality, and introduction of exotic predators, thus restricting one of the most important protein sources for the rapidly expanding human population. Most problems with African freshwater ecosystems are associated with a failure to develop sustainable management plans that recognize the necessity for multipurpose use of resources. In addition, a majority of freshwater ecosystems of the continent are shared by several nations, and the lack of enforceable transboundary protocols hinders sound management. The political and policy issues surrounding multinational management of the Lake Victoria basin, for example, illustrates one of the dilemmas facing ecologists and water managers.