All of us at Students For Liberty pause in sadness and tribute to note the death on April 8 of our longtime supporter, advisor, and dearest friend of liberty, Dr. George Ayittey. A brilliant intellectual, and 2014 Students For Liberty’s Alumnus of the Year, he has been an inspiration to many young people.
Dr. Ayittey was a distinguished economist in residence at American University and founder and president of the Free Africa Foundation. Throughout his life, Dr. Ayittey supported the argument that “Africa is poor because she is not free.” He believed that the main cause of African poverty is not the result of the colonial past but rather the outcome of modern oppressive native autocrats and socialist central planning policies.
Dr. Ayittey was the author of numerous op-eds for the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal. He wrote columns for African-owned publications, including The African Letter, African Continent News, Africa News Weekly, and African Forum. His books include Africa in Chaos, Indigenous African Institutions, Africa Unchained: The Blueprint for Africa Unchained, and Africa Betrayed, for which he won the 1992 H. L. Mencken Award for Best Book.
Dr. Ayittey appeared on several television and radio news shows, including ABC’s Nightline and CNN’s Crossfire as well as programs on National Public Radio, and the BBC World Service. He also lectured across the United States, Europe, and Africa. He testified several times before U.S. congressional committees about the third world debt crisis, foreign aid to Africa, apartheid in South Africa, the World Bank, and debt forgiveness.
Having been such an active member of the liberty movement, Dr. Ayittey will always be remembered as one of the most prominent voices advocating for free markets, free trade, and human flourishing.
On Dr. Ayittey’s passing, Students For Liberty’s CEO Dr. Wolf von Laer stated, “Our community has suffered an incredible loss. Dr. Ayittey was a champion for liberty. He firmly believed that the bottom-up empowerment approach is the only way of rescuing Africa from oppressive despotism. Students For Liberty will forever remember and cherish his contribution to making the world a freer place.”
Dr. Ayittey will be deeply missed by all of us at Students For Liberty. His immense contributions to making this world a freer place for all will never be forgotten.