Quartz Africa Weekly Brief: Kinshasa’s robocops; Starbucks in South Africa; currencies struggle

A robot officer watches over traffic.
A robot officer watches over traffic.
Image: Photo by Brian Sokol
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Five stories from this



Photos: How a female entrepreneur helped Kinshasa traffic problem, one robocop at a time. See photos of the robotic traffic cops designed by a group of female engineers to help the DR Congo’s congested capital city.

A whole new set of deadly diseases could hit Africa as it gets richer As African countries grow their middle class populations they will have to prepare for the rise of many non-communicable diseases like diabetes and renal failure..

Africans think climate change is a bigger threat than economic instability

Disputes over shrinking natural resources are growing on the continent and this survey shows how attitudes are changing to the threat of climate change.

Starbucks will open its first shop in Sub Saharan Africa next year Starbucks will open in South Africa in 2016 but will face plenty of strong local competition.

Africa’s major currencies have taken a beating this year: From the Nigeria Naira to the Kenyan Shilling to the Angolan Kwanza, several important currencies on the continent have struggled against the dollar for a myriad of reasons.

Chart of the Week

Safaricom,  the dominant mobile money player in East Africa–thanks to its M-Pesa unit, is locked in a trademark dispute with rival Airtel.

Other Things We Liked

Learning from Lagos Nigeria’s commercial city still has a deserved reputation as a citadel of chaos but much about it has changed and other Nigerian cities could follow suit.

Do-gooders, do no harm: What are the best–and worst–ways to help those mired in international conflicts? Making the distinction is between those activists and advocates who act in critical solidarity with the downtrodden and oppressed, and “designer activists” and celebrity advocates.

The story of Lagos’ ill-fated professional tennis tournament in 1976. How Arthur Ashe, soccer legend Pele and other sports stars got caught up in the middle of Nigeria’s bloody February 1976 coup.

This week, keep an eye on:

Nigeria’s president Buhari is Washington DC The Nigerian leader will meet president Obama and other U.S. dignitaries early this week. On the agenda, battling terrorism and fixing Nigeria’s troubled economy.

Obama in Ethiopia and Kenya. The US president will be in Addis Ababa and Nairobi later this week on an historic visit for all involved. Some have muttered displeasure at the visit to Ethiopia because of its sketchy human rights record, particularly with journalists. But the country’s economy is roaring by most metrics. Meanwhile, Kenya is beside itself with excitement at the ‘homecoming’ of the US president and has been cleaning itself up.

Our best wishes for a productive and thought-filled week. Please send any news, comments, State dinner invitations and year’s supply of Frappuccinos to You can follow us @qzafrica for updates throughout the day.

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