Speaking at the launch of the Centre for Chinese Studies (CCS) at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), Mahiga said Tanzania was for constructive engagement with foreign countries based on non-alignment.
The principle means that Tanzania as a nation-state must be seen to be participating in international affairs and systems, he noted.
He stressed that only meaningful dialogue can resolve conflicts between nations, adding that Tanzania cannot make an effective contribution to that end by idling itself.
“We shall not forget the Palestinians, we shall not drop the issue of the Sahrawians. We have to be constructive and we believe through talks we can resolve those conflicts,” Mahiga said.
According to the minister, non-interference in domestic affairs, co-existence and good neighbourliness remain the cornerstones of Tanzania’s foreign policy, while economic diplomacy is being deployed to promote national interests.
On the newly-launched CCS, he said it will be “a case study for Tanzanians to learn how China advanced from a poor country to an economic powerhouse.”
The Chinese ambassador to Tanzania, Wang Ke, said the centre will be important in introducing Tanzanians to the Chinese way of life in a comprehensive and objective way.
“To better understand China, you need to be objective and independent in thinking. Only in this way you can present the real China to the people of Tanzania and other African countries,” said Wang.
She explained that the centre will enable Tanzanians to conduct in-depth research on the relevance of China’s development experience to the development of Tanzania and Africa in general.
“Development is the biggest challenge facing the world, and China’s experience in development may be helpful to African countries,” said the Chinese envoy.
The CCS in Tanzania is the third such institute in Africa specialising in Chinese studies.
Former prime minister Mizengo Pinda, who is the centre’s patron, said it symbolises practical implementation of the China-Africa cooperation.
CCS board of trustees member Dr Reginald Mengi requested that the centre addresses the three main challenges facing Tanzanians, naming them as lack of confidence, having eyes for opportunities, and respect for time.
On lack of confidence, Dr Mengi – who is also chairman of the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) – called on the centre to “find out what factors are behind that weakness.”
He also said the country is blessed with numerous opportunities that most Tanzanians don’t see, while most Tanzanians also don’t have the culture of respecting time.
CCS director Prof Humphrey Moshi said the centre will address the co-mission of the university which is teaching, research and provision of public service.
“The centre will open doors and widen the frontiers of knowledge,” Prof Moshi said.