The Africa Report: 19 July

EWN’s Africa Correspondent Jean-Jacques Cornish reports on the day’s top African news.

French troops patrol in the streets of Gao on February 3, 2013. France said it carried out major air strikes on the same day near Kidal, the last bastion of armed extremists chased from Mali's desert north in a lightning French-led offensive. Picture: AFP / Sia Kambou

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA FILLED WITH OPTIMISM

According to research conducted by Gallup - the organisation providing research, analytics and advice on societies' most pressing concerns - in 2012, sub-Saharan Africans expressed overwhelming optimism about the next five years.

Respondents were asked to measure how they feel about the past, present and future of their region according to the Cantril Self-Anchoring Striving Scale using a given scale, from zero to ten.

Nine out of ten sub-Saharan Africans indicated that they were optimistic that their living conditions would improve within the next five years.

Sub-Saharan Africa is predicted to grow at 5.5% this year, according to the World Bank, whilst the region's participants expect to accumulate twice their share of the world's economy.

Participants predicted that the population would quadruple by the end of the century.

The "most optimistic countries in 2012" included Burkina Faso, Comoros, Niger, Benin, Guinea, Somaliland region, Chad, Rwanda, Senegal, Turkmenistan, Mauritania, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Congo Kinshasa and Uganda.

NIGERIAN TROOPS TO WITHDRAW FROM MALI FOR USE BACK HOME

Nigeria has announced their plans to withdraw some of their troops from a peacekeeping mission in Mali as they are needed back home in order for rotation to occur.

Troops fighting in Nigeria's north are complaining that they have not been rotated for months.

Nigeria is currently facing an Islamic uprising in their northern region.

The country, the most active in terms of peacekeeping in Africa, has 1000 troops deployed in Mali.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) are in the process of deploying 12 000 troops in Mali to replace the outgoing 4000 French troops.

Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara, the current Chair of ECOWAS, has expressed his support of Nigeria's plans to withdraw some of their troops.

WITNESSES FOR KENYATTA'S TRIAL WITHDRAW

Two witnesses who were due to testify in the International Criminal Court's (ICC) trial on Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta have withdrawn amid security concerns.

This is not the first witnesses the ICC has lost; another one was dropped by the prosecution after the witness' evidence was considered irrelevant.

The court's list of witnesses now stands at 30.

Expectedly, the ICC are not happy, with their chief prosecutor having accused Kenyatta's government of failing to protect witnesses.

He goes to trial the 12th of November and faces five charges of crimes against humanity for allegedly fomenting violence after the 2007 elections.