George Ayittey

George
Ayittey
1945

Ghanaian Economist, Author and President of the Free Africa Foundation in Washington DC, Professor at American University, Scholar at the Foreign Policy Research Institute

Author Quotes

Imagine, Africa has a begging bowl and that into this begging bowl comes… foreign aid. But this bowl has holes in it, so it leaks. There’s a massive hole here through which corruption alone cost Africa $148 billion dollars. That’s a massive leak. What should be done first – plugging the leaks or putting more aid money in? Now this is something which even an elementary school student should be able to answer. I mean, you pouring more and more and more into the bowl and then it leaks…. Doing the same thing over and over and over and again and expecting different results—makes no sense.

In the past, we’ve had too much paternalism, where Christian churches want to come to Africa and somehow they see the poor as people to be pitied and people to be for handouts to be given to them. That model didn’t work. Now, the poor are not lazy; they are hardworking. And a better model would be to form partnerships with the poor and help the poor achieve their own dreams. I think that would be a better model which will serve everybody.

We’re pushing not just one particular type of freedom, we’re pushing for intellectual freedom, political freedom, and economic freedom. We believe that those three types of freedom are all interrelated, you know. You can’t just push one and forget about the others.… Our motto is, Africa is poor because she is not free.

Back in the 1960s Africa not only fed itself, it also exported food. Not anymore.

Did you know that 40 percent of the wealth created in Africa is not invested here in Africa? It’s taken out of Africa.

Every decade or so, the United Nations puts together a sort of a gathering and the whole gaggle of Western donors and African government and NGOs, they gather to announce grand initiatives to pull the world’s poorest continent out of its economic miasma. The pledges are made, delegates pat themselves on the back, you know, champagne glasses click, they go home, and then everybody forgets about it. Then another five years there is another conference and another summit.

Every foreign entity, from our history, every foreign entity that comes to Africa goes there to pursue their own interest. Americans go there to pursue their interests. The Russians go to Africa to pursue their own interests. The Arabs came to Africa to pursue their own interest. The Chinese right now are not in Africa because they love black people so much; they are there to pursue their own interests. So we have a new form of, you know, neocolonialism.

Ghana must demonstrate its political maturity by going through the legal process.

Helping Africa has been turned into a theater of the absurd. It’s like the blind lending the clueless.

If you look at the post-colonial [African] history, you can divide it into two classes of people. There is the Hippo Generation; the Hippo Generation are the ruling elites. They are those who have monopolized political power and they are those who are stuck in their muddy, pedagogical patch. They are ornery, pudgy, and stodgy in the sense that they can’t explain why Africa is in such a mess. They blame everybody else instead of themselves. It is always colonialism! Imperialism! And they believe that the only way you can solve the problems in Africa is by giving the state more power and more foreign aid. That’s the Hippo Generation. It’s what has dragged Africa into this particular swamp. Africa is not going to move forward with the Hippo Generation, and it is on the back of this Hippo Generation which the United Nations, the World Bank, and the IMF have been trying to hitch a ride with this same old aid driven boondoggle. And that’s why we’re not getting anywhere in Africa. By contrast we have the Cheetah Generation. The Cheetah Generation is the new and angry generation of Africans who can see that their leadership have failed them. And the Cheetah Generation are those young Africans, you may call them the restless generation. They’re not going to sit there and wait for governments to come and do things for them. As a matter of fact, they’re not going to sit there and beg for foreign aid, because they can see that every social need in Africa is a business opportunity. The Cheetah Generation is entrepreneurial. So they are going to get off and take their own initiative to solve problems in Africa. Africa’s salvation and Africa’s future rests on the backs of this Cheetah Generation. They are the young and the agile and they’re fast, and you can see a lot of them. Many, many, many African countries who are not just sitting there and waiting for governments to come and do things for them. In fact, their outlook is refreshingly different. Asia has its Tigers; Africa will have its Cheetahs.

Africa is poor because she is not free.

Author Picture
First Name
George
Last Name
Ayittey
Birth Date
1945
Bio

Ghanaian Economist, Author and President of the Free Africa Foundation in Washington DC, Professor at American University, Scholar at the Foreign Policy Research Institute