Valentin Tapsoba is the Director for United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Regional Bureau for Southern Africa covering the countries of Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic Congo, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Republic of Congo, Zambia, Zimbabwe and the Indian Ocean Island countries. He was appointed to this position on 1 February 2019.
He has worked with UNHCR for the past twenty six years in various leadership capacities at its Headquarters in Geneva and several field operations in sub-Saharan Africa and in Asia.
Mr. Tapsoba joined UNHCR in 1993 as Administrative/Finance Officer in Somalia. He then served as Administrative/Finance Officer in Kigali, Rwanda (1994) before being reassigned to Conakry, Guinea (1995-1997). He moved to the UNHCR Headquarters in Geneva for the first time in 1998, where he served the Organization as Senior Administrative Officer of the Regional Bureau for Africa until 2001.
From September 2002 to October 2005 he was the Assistant Representative in charge of Administration and Finance in Kabul, Afghanistan. His next tour of duty was in Burundi, where he served as Deputy Representative in charge of Operations (November 2005-July 2008) and thereafter as Representative in Sierra Leone (2008-2011). He took up his appointment as the Regional Representative for UNHCR West Africa in March 2011. From Dakar, Mr. Tapsoba was reassigned to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia as UNHCR Representative from 1 November 2014 until his appointment as Director, Regional Bureau for Africa from 12 February 2015.
He assumed his functions as Director on 20 April 2015 where apart from day to day management of the extensive programme in Africa, he oversaw and coordinated UNHCR’s response to the multiple regional refugee crises across the continent (Burundi, Central African Republic, DRC, Nigeria, Somalia and South Sudan). In that capacity, Mr. Tapsoba travelled extensively to the affected region, coordinating funding, response, donor relations, cooperation with other actors and governments, as well as assessing UNHCR’s capacity and general oversight functions.
Valentin Tapsoba is a national of Burkina Faso. He holds a Masters Degree in Economics from Ouagadougou University and earned a Masters Degree in International Transactions from George Mason University, in the United States.