Media Advisory – February 22 Digital Press briefing with Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Akunna Cook and Prosper Africa Acting Chief Operating Officer, Leslie Marbury

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, February 18, 2022, -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- EVENT: Please join us on Tuesday, February 22, 2022, for a digital press briefing on the growing economic and commercial ties between the United States and the African continent. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Akunna Cook and Prosper Africa Acting Chief Operating Officer, Leslie Marbury will connect from Johannesburg during their February 14-March 1 trip to Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, and Namibia. After brief opening remarks, DAS Cook and A/COO Marbury will take questions from participating journalists.



Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Akunna Cook; and 
Prosper Africa Acting Chief Operating Officer Leslie Marbury 

Date: Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Time13:00 Johannesburg | 11:00 GMT |06:00 Washington, D.C.

Language:   English. Simultaneous French interpretation will be provided.

Ground rules: The briefing will be on the record. 

Log-in info: To be provided upon RSVP

RSVP: Please RSVP by clicking here

Twitter:  Follow the conversation at #AFHubPress for the call. Follow us on @AfricaMediaHub.


Akunna Cook

AKUNNA COOK - Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs

Ms. Cook oversees the development of U.S. foreign policy for Southern Africa, as well as economic and regional issues including trade, investment, climate, health, multilateral engagement, democracy, and human rights. Previously, Ms. Cook was the founder and principal at Drake Road Strategies where she advised individuals and organizations on public policy strategy and advocacy. She was also the inaugural Executive Director of the Black Economic Alliance, a non-partisan organization focused on driving economic progress in the black community through policy development, advocacy, and supporting candidates for office.

Ms. Cook practiced law at a large international law firm, where she advised former Attorney General Eric Holder on political and legal strategy related to redistricting around the country. She also advised a variety of clients on public policy, government affairs, and corporate governance. Ms. Cook was also a legal fellow in the office of U.S. Senator Chris Coons. Ms. Cook began her State Department career over 20 years ago as a Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellow. She served for almost ten years as a career diplomat with the State Department where she focused on economic and political development. Ms. Cook’s foreign service assignments included service overseas in China, South Africa, and Iraq, and several years in Washington serving in the Africa Bureau in various roles. She is a graduate of the Yale Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She is also a summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Howard University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and business administration. Ms. Cook is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the Washington, D.C. bar. She is also a member of the Alliance for Justice Board ofDirectors.

Leslie Marbury

LESLIE MARBURY - Chief Operating Officer, Prosper Africa Leslie Marbury joined Prosper Africa in July 2021 as the Acting Chief Operating Officer. Most recently, she completed a tour as the Mission Director in Rwanda and Burundi, where she led the development of a new Country Development Cooperation Strategy, established a leadership initiative to empower staff to achieve greater development results, and led the response to COVID-19.  Her previous posts include Honduras, Bolivia, South Africa and Burma. Throughout her time with the U.S. government, she has worked with governments, the private sector and civil society to improve economic governance, private sector investment, trade, the financial sector, environmental policy, agricultural development, and food security.  Leslie is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service. She gained her formative experience as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Ghana and received her master’s degree in environmental economics and policy from the University of Georgia.


  • Participants should log in to join the conference 10 minutes early. 
  • Participants will be asked to type in their name, press affiliation, and location.  
  • The speaker will give brief opening remarks, and then the moderator will open the floor to questions.  
  • Participants will be instructed to type their questions or indicate to the moderator in the chat that they wish to ask a live question. Journalists may also submit written questions in advance when registering on Eventbrite or via e-mail to [email protected]
  • If you experience technical difficulties during the briefing, you may send an e-mail to [email protected] to alert the moderator to any issues.

Distributed by African Media Agency on behalf of Africa Media Hub.

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Source : African Media Agency (AMA)