Charles Callaghan

Specialist areas

  • Climate Finance
  • Access to Energy
  • Political Economy Analysis


  • M.A. Political Economy of Africa – School of Oriental and African Studies

Charles Callaghan

In a nutshell, tell us about yourself.

Growing up in the Outer Hebrides, I developed an appreciation for nature from a young age. The importance of conservation was also instilled upon me early-on when my parents led a successful campaign against a proposed super-quarry on Harris. My interest in sustainable development really took hold at university, where – as an active Model UN debater – I began to explore climatic and developmental challenges from the perspective of various countries.

My career began in the legal sector. Working for firms with international scope, I developed an interest in the role the private sector, and how commercial investors navigated the various challenges and risks associated with developing and frontier markets. These interests drew me to a master’s programme in the Political Economy of Africa.

Since completing my MA, I have spent time working in Sierra Leone, where I supported the growth of a battery technology company that provided clean and affordable energy to individuals through a pay-per-charge rental model.
More recently, I helped establish the Climate Finance Pathfinder, an initiative that supports low and lower-middle income countries with developing strategies for accessing finance for projects related to their NDCs, and other low-carbon and development policies.

What are your loves?

Nature, good food (both making and eating it), various sports (basketball, tennis, football, running and cycling).

What would you desire most if stranded on a desert island?

I’m not sure I can pick one but have narrowed it down to: a good selection of literature and music + speakers; a basketball + hoop; cooking utensils; and an unlimited supply of charcuterie. If I had each of those, I could make my peace with never being rescued.

What is the title of your perfect work project?

Establishing the enabling environment conditions required to scale-up investment in productive uses of energy in agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America.

What’s the best holiday you’ve ever had?

Road trip from Kampala to Virunga National Park in the DRC (and back again) to climb an active volcano and hang out with a family of gorillas.

If you were world leader, what’s the first thing you would change?

Enhance efforts to protect endangered species (actions would include increasing funding for conservation, introduce stricter regulations, and establish greater levels of accountability and tougher sanctions, education campaigns).