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ROME, ITALY - DECEMBER 02: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Chair, Gavi, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, speaks at the Fortune + Time Global Forum 2016 on December 2, 2016 in Rome, Italy.

History in Motion as First African Woman Set to Head the WTO

Nigeria's Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is set to become the first African woman ever to be at the helm of the World Trade Organisation in it's entire 25-year history.

Nigeria's Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is reportedly set to become the head of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). This comes after South Korea's Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee, who was also a finalist for the top WTO position, announced that she planned to withdraw from the race this past Friday. Hence, as the only remaining finalist, and with the recently-elected Biden-Harris administration having endorsed her candidacy, Okonjo-Iweala, will become both the first African and first woman to ever helm the WTO in its 25-year history.

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In September of last year, Kenyan Sports, Culture and Heritage Minister, Amina Chawahir Mohamed, and Okonjo-Iweala were selected as the top candidates for the director-general position for the WTO. They were the only two African women in the running at the time. Okonjo-Iweala's candidacy, however, had been blocked by the former Trump administration, according to The New York Times.

According to a press statement by the office of the US trade representative, "Dr. Okonjo-Iweala brings a wealth of knowledge in economics and international diplomacy. She is widely respected for her effective leadership and has proven experience managing a large international organisation with a diverse membership." European Central Bank President, Christine Lagarde, also responded to Okonjo-Iweala's historic appointment in a recent interview saying, "[Okonjo-Iweala] is this wonderful, soft, very gentle woman with an authentic approach to problems but, boy, under that soft glove there is a hard hand and a strong will behind it."

Okonjo-Iweala is certainly an excellent pick for the top post having already served twice as Nigeria's Finance Minister, having been a development economist at the World Bank for 25 years and the current chairperson of the board for the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation. Her appointment will follow that of Brazil's Roberto Azevêdo who resigned last year citing personal reasons and subsequently left the organisation without a successor.

Interview
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Interview: How Stogie T’s ‘Freestyle Friday’ Became a TV Show

Freestyle Friday started as lockdown content but is now a fully-fledged TV show on Channel O. In this interview, Stogie T breaks down why the show is revolutionary and talks about venturing into media.

When South Africa was put under a hard lockdown in 2020, Stogie T started Freestyle Friday to "make SA rap again." Freestyle Friday, hosted on Instagram, saw a different cohort of rappers each rap over the same beat picked by the veteran rapper. From niche and emerging rappers to some of the most notable names in South African hip-hop—the likes of AKA, Focalistic, Ginger Trill and several others all participated.

In the last few weeks, however, Freestyle Friday has found its way to cable TV. The show airs every Friday on Channel O, one of the continent's longest-running music TV channels. Freestyle Friday as a TV programme isn't just about freestyles, it's about the art of rapping and the music business, particularly SA hip-hop. Guests range from lyricists to record executives and other personalities aligned with the scene—Ninel Musson and Ms Cosmo for instance.

But Freestyle Friday is only the first media product Stogie T is working on as he is in the process of starting a podcast network, a venture in which he is collaborating with Culture Capital. In the Q&A below, Stogie T breaks down the relationship with Culture Capital, how the show moved from the internet to TV, why it's a revolutionary idea, touches on his venture into media and his future plans.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

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