THE China Alumni Association of Tanzania (CAAT) was established in 2016 with the objective to foster friendly relations between Tanzania and China and provide a forum to promote professional development and socio-economic endeavours of professionals who studied, graduated and lived in China. CAAT chairperson, Dr Liggy Vumilia shared some insights of the CAAT in this exclusive interview he hosted with the ‘Sunday News.’ Excerpts…
QUESTION: Can you please tell us the background of the Tanzania/China Alumni? What is the general overview?
ANSWER: China Alumni Association of Tanzania (CAAT) was established by Tanzanian students who had completed their studies in different cities of different provinces in the People’s Republic of China.
The association was legally registered by the Ministry of Home Affairs in 2016 in order to provide a common forum to foster and to promote friendly fellowship, professional development and socio economic endeavors of Tanzanian professionals who were living in Peoples’ Republic of China, as well as acting as a bridge to link the people of the two countries. CAAT’s aim is to gain great achievements that would further strengthen the relationship between the two countries and also elevate the reputation of their alma mater, along with the overall contribution to the growth and development of each member. The Association serves the Alumni by carrying out a variety of activities that in turn strengthen ties between alumnus/alumni, as well as between Alumni and the countries involved, thus providing a wide range of opportunities from education to business and technology.
Q: What is the objective and background of the Tanzania/China alumni?
A: To facilitate technology transfer, innovation, automation and support of CAAT directories To be the preferred association for network for local and China linkages To promote local and international tourism for enjoyment as well as educational and business linkages. To fundraise and invest for the benefit of the members. To advocate for government policy on economic development and investment strategies for the two countries. In the background of the long history of cooperation between Tanzania and China; in recognition of the ever-increasing number of Tanzanian students studying in China and the significant contributions these graduates have in the overall development of Tanzania, in view of the ever-growing need for strengthening cooperation between the two countries in such areas as education, science and technology, culture and heritage, investment and trade, governance and development, environmental management and conservation, and poverty alleviation, students studied in china decided to establish China Alumni Association of Tanzania (CAAT). CAAT is a non-profit making, non-governmental and non-political association dedicated to provide a common forum for fostering and promoting friendly fellowship, professional development and socioeconomic endeavors of Tanzanian professionals who graduated in China, as well as acting as a bridge linking the people of the two countries. CAAT is a direct reflection of the institution and a testimonial to the quality of experience that Sino-Tanzanian friendship can provide. In turn, the education and overall experience that one receives from China can make a life-long contribution to the growth and development of each alumnus/a. In carrying out these general purposes, the association will maintain the good will of all former students towards their comradeship with each other, the association and its departments as well as the trustees. The Alumni have adopted the following Constitution and By-laws.
Q: Do you have a constitution of the Tanzania/China Alumni? A: Yes
Q: What does the constitution talk about? Vision, Mission, Objectives etc. A: The vision of the Association is: To become economically independent, socially strong and technologically sound through investing in knowledge based assets, credit and saving institution. The mission of the Association is: To empower our members’ economically through investments, skills utilization, industries, shares, individual contributions and participation.
Q: Who are the members of the Tanzania/China Alumni?
A: Tanzanians who have been studying, graduated and living in China
Q: Do you have projects the Tanzania/China Alumni is implementing? A: No , Not yet but we already formed investment group, where interested members have started contributing their seed money to start up going forward for the projects.
Q: Where are the projects? How many projects in the alumni to-do list? What is the status of the projects, if any? A: China Tanzania trading and investment hub
Q: What are the duties and obligations of Tanzania/China Alumni?
A: To advocate and support the long-term friendship between Tanzania government and China government
Q: How many members do you have?
A: Currently, the association has 79 members (who have registered and pay monthly fees) But we have more than 400 members expected to join the Association soon. Q: What are your strategies to increase Tanzania/China Alumni? A: Create benefits and more opportunities and platform for members
Q: What are your duties/responsibilities as chairperson of the Tanzania/China Alumni?
A: My duties are to make sure there is cooperation among members, we want to make this association one of biggest intellectual communities, expertise resource, consultancy work, which will contribute to the development of our nation. The other issue is we want to make sure we are a good example by giving back to the nation for the education we got, either through scholarship, or by our two nations having friendly diplomatic relations, which made many Tanzanians get an opportunity to travel, do business and get exposure in between these two big nations. We must respect and enjoy this relationship which was made between our two nations’ founding fathers – Chairman Mao of China and Mwalimu Julius Nyerere of Tanzania.
Q: Do you have any best practices from other parts of the world with the same kind of arrangement?
A: Yes we do have best practice from China, where even current Vice-President of China came from Alumni Association of Chinese who studied in America and Europe, and their Alumni has contributed a lot to change the country to the way it is today. And, so many other parts in the world, Finland is also an example.
Q: What best practice has impressed you most? Why? A: Volunteering to work hard, remember our life in this world is too short, we need to spend it nicely to make sure we didn’t come into this world to waste time; there are so many problems in this world which needs solutions, it is good to contribute somehow into those best practices.
Q: What does the future hold for the Tanzania/China Alumni? A: To have its own brand, to be able to have people who are patriotic and proud of their nations’ achievements, innovators, technology wise, own big investments, and being part of leadership and helping other citizens to achieve development.