Female soccer stars fall in opening match, Uganda disagrees with World Bank over middle-income status, health ministry proposes law banning trafficking of human body organs, Pope Francis still expected in South Sudan

Uganda’s female soccer stars the Uganda Crested Cranes started their campaign at the weekend and began their quest on a low, losing by 2 goals for none to the Senegal women in the TotalEnergies Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) 2022 ongoing in Morocco. Ndeye Awa Diakhate and Nguenar Ndiaye scored in each half for Senegal at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium. Senegal now top Group A with three points and two goals, hosts Morocco who beat Burkina Faso 1-0 on Saturday are second, while Uganda were bottom. Stop Press – Uganda lost their second match this evening 3-1 to hosts Morocco.

The government of Uganda last week disagreed with the World Bank after the latter issued a statement contradicting President Yoweri Museveni’s pronouncement that the country had hit the middle-income mark. In his State of the Nation Address on June 7, President Museveni said Uganda would achieve the economic indicators putting it in the threshold for lower-middle-income status by the time of the budget reading a week later. The President repeated the same on budget day and wondered why Finance, Planning and Economic Development minister Matia Kasaija had not mentioned it in his speech. He said the conclusion was based on the size of Uganda’s economy or GDP compared to the economy. However on June 30, the last day of the financial year 2021/22, the World Bank released the 19th Uganda Economic Update, which showed that the country was yet to achieve the required figures to join the Middle-Income Countries, Middle Income Status. The report puts Uganda’s per capita income at USD 850, as opposed to the USD 1,045 dollars stated by President Museveni.

Meanwhile Uganda’s health ministry has proposed a new law to curb the illicit trade in human organs. The bill on organ donation presented before parliament, aims to protect the dignity and rights of organ donors and provide an environment through which transplant surgery, which is increasingly sought after in the country, can be done, states the ministry, adding that the Bill seeks to outlaw cash-for-organs and create transplant centres, organ banks and a council to oversee the process. The law also provides for organ harvesting from both living and deceased donors. Ugandans in need of transplant surgery of any kind have to travel mostly to Kenya, South Africa or India and cough heavy amounts of money. 

In West Africa, regional leaders have announced the lifting of sanctions against the military regime in Mali. The heads of state of the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) meeting in the Ghanaian capital, Accra, accepted a proposal by the Malian military to hold elections and return to civilian rule by March 2024.

The bloc had imposed crippling economic sanctions after army officers staged two coups in less than a year in August 2020 and May 2021.

It also accepted a two-year timetable for the restoration of democracy in Burkina Faso, but told Guinea, a third country which has witnessed a military takeover, it would face economic sanctions unless it could speed up its proposed three-year transition back to democracy.

The Vatican has announced that Pope Francis will still visit South Sudan if his health improves. Last month, the pontiff had to postpone his trip to South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo on the advice of his medical team because of knee pains.

He sent Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s secretary of state, to the neighbouring countries instead. The majority of the population in the world’s newest nation are Christian. It is nine years since the country broke away from Sudan – but many of those years have been dominated by a brutal civil conflict. Catholic and Anglican church leaders have played a role in urging peace and a deal was signed in 2018, though disagreements continue.

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