Soulemane Halif Ngagine : from research to entrepreneurship

Soulemane Halif Ngagine, a passionate researcher and committed entrepreneur, founder of Henddu, is developing innovative solutions to measure and combat air pollution.

As part of their Citizens’ Conversations program, « Je M’engage pour l’Afrique » an incubator of citizen public policies operating between Africa, the Mediterranean, and Europe, organized a meeting in Lille on February 2nd. Soulemane Halif Ngagine, a Cameroonian based in Lille, has been involved for some time as an expert for JMA, particularly on issues related to the interface between climate and health. « Citizens’ Conversations landed in Lille on February 2nd, with the aim of redefining Franco-Western-African relations. It’s an opportunity to leverage the growth of diaspora startups in Africa. A cosmopolitan event that gave us the opportunity to listen to different perspectives and explore opportunities. »

So, the idea is to position myself on this issue not as a researcher but in a form that has more impact

Exploring is what Soulemane loves, displaying a unique career path in more ways than one. His story begins in Cameroon where, as a child, he dreamt of… speaking to people! « I wanted to be a speaker! Speaking to people, being on stage, but speaking just for the sake of it isn’t interesting; it requires having something to say. At that time, the Copenhagen conference was taking place, and I became passionate about climate issues. » So, he steered himself in that direction.

His studies took him to Turkey, where he specialized in air pollution. His academic journey then led him to Lille, where he worked on air quality microsensors. It’s there that he became aware of the complexity of measuring air pollution, especially in developing countries. After earning his engineering degree in Turkey, he continued his studies in France, and then in Japan. « That’s when it clicked. I realized how complex it is to measure air pollution. If it’s so complex in developed countries, what about in our countries? So, the idea is to position myself on this issue not as a researcher but in a form that has more impact. » He then decided to return to France for his doctoral thesis in Dunkirk on pollution episodes. He later joined Atmo Hauts de France as an expert engineer.

I’m aware that I’m a researcher and that I need to train in entrepreneurship

It’s here that Soulemane stands out and gradually moves towards entrepreneurship. « I’m aware that I’m a researcher and that I need to train in entrepreneurship. » Which he did, while refining his project. The objective is to design a suitable solution. « There are 7 million deaths worldwide due to air pollution. 9 out of 10 in developing countries, especially in Africa. However, an air quality observatory is very expensive to install and maintain. Moreover, expertise is needed to translate information into action and public policy. » Challenges that Henddu addresses.

« We’re building digital air quality observers that allow the government to collect and process data to implement appropriate public policies. » A solution that is expected to be launched on the market in 2025. « We’ll start with Ivory Coast to expand into the sub-region. »

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