Shortly after the Covid-19 Pandemic hit South Africa in early 2020, Nardos Bekele-Thomas, the Resident Co-ordinator for the United Nations in the country, launched a “flash appeal” to raise U$136 million. The UN worked with business, investors and civil society. The intention for the targeted funds was to assist with the country’s response to the health, social and economic impacts of the virus. The fundraising is on-going. The Blended Capital Group (TBCG) assisted the UN team with the launch of the initiative.

This UN SA initiative was the catalyst for a global conversation “Business Beyond Covid-19” which ran for eight months (June 2020-January 2021). TBCG worked with The Legal 500 and globally recognised legal thought leaders to host and moderate discussions in cities around the world to explore and frame what a meaningful role for business could be.

Judge Professor Mervyn King (South Africa) and Professor Paul Q Watchman (UK) anchored the global discussion. Paul Clements-Hunt of TBCG moderated six, two-hour sessions to capture 12 hours of recorded debate.

The essential question we asked was how might entrepreneurs, companies, investors and the global business ecosystem contribute as countries managed through the Pandemic and then rebuild after it?

Where the conversation landed:

Eight months on we landed what had been a vibrant, robust, multi-country and multi-sector debate involving business, investors, policy-makers and civil society.

The two concluding online meetings were hosted on January 28th, 2021, by the UNCTAD World Investment Forum.