KINSHASA (Reuters) - The World Bank on Wednesday announced $1 billion in funding for Africa's Great Lakes region, where renewed fighting this week between the government and rebels in eastern Congo has raised fears once again of an escalation in conflict.

The funds, aimed at financing health and education, hydro-electric projects and cross-border trade, could be a "major contributor to lasting peace in the Great Lakes region", World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said on the first day of a trip to Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda.

He is traveling with the U.N. Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon.

(Writing by Pascal Fletcher; Editing by Ed Cropley)