The importance of Geneva in the times of coronavirus

Once the dust settles over COVID-19, the human cost will likely be enormous and the economic disruption possibly long-term as described in this Bruegel podcast.

While all organisations are currently taking care of their staff, customers and business continuity, they should not overlook one important learning from the COVID-19 crisis: some institutions such as the World Health Organization will come out stronger than before and become a critical policy interlocutor. Other organisations will claim similar status as policy issues will increasingly appear global and inter-connected (public health, environment, trade, development etc.).

This particular eco-system gathers over 30 International Organizations, 250 NGOs, 165 Governmental Representations and dozens of trade associations and influencer platforms. All of these entities have one thing in common: they are located in the Geneva area to shape the global policy agenda and secure funding for their programmes.

In addition, Switzerland is host to one of the highest concentration of multinationals in Europe, and many Headquarter functions are located there including Heads of Corporate Affairs, Communications and Public Affairs. Why Switzerland? According to a survey published by Amcham Switzerland and BCG,

“Switzerland offers an array of advantages to multinational companies: a central location in Europe, a stable political and fiscal environment, a well-developed infrastructure, a good quality of life, a highly skilled and multilingual workforce, an attractive tax system, and a business-friendly government, in addition to a long-standing focus on innovation and investment in R&D.”

Amcham Switzerland and BCG

As a consequence, demand for skilled Swiss-based communicators and public policy experts should increase in the coming years as intense competition for a share of voice in public policy debates quickly appears as a priority for many organisations, whether profit or not-for-profit.

Authored by Christophe Lecureuil, Senior Adviser Dober Partners Geneva