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George Ayittey        

Economist, Authority on the development of Africa, Author

George Ayittey is a Ghanaian economist and widely recognized authority on political and economic development in Africa. The president of the Free Africa Foundation and former distinguished economist in residence at American University, George has championed the idea that Africa is poor because she is not free. True freedom never came to much of Africa after independence from colonial rule, says his first book, Africa Betrayed, which won the H.L. Mencken Award for Best Book in 1992. In his most recent book, Defeating Dictators, George takes a hard look at the fight against dictatorships around the world, from Ukraine's orange revolution in 2004 to Iran's Green Revolution last year, and examines what strategies worked in the struggle to establish democracy through revolution.

In the analysis of Africas woes, George believes that a much greater emphasis should be placed on internal factorsbad leadership, corruption, military vandalism, and exploitation of the African peoplerather than the external factors. George stresses "internal solutions" and initiatives that must come from Africa itself. He coined the expression: African solutions for African problems. Crying out against the vampire states and dysfunctional governments that, he believes, are the bedrock of problems of many troubled Africa states, George speaks passionately about the grassroots enterprises that will enable Africans to take back Africa one village at a time.

His influential book Africa Unchained boldly proposes a program of development, a way forward for Africa, investigating how Africa can modernize, build, and improve its indigenous institutions. George argues forcefully that Africa's salvation lies in Africa itself not inside the corridors of the U.S. Congress or the inner sanctum of the World Bank. Africa's salvation lies in returning to and building upon its own indigenous institutions and traditions of free village markets and free trade rather than continuing to use alien and exploitative economic structures. The critically acclaimed book has helped unleash a new wave of activism and optimism about Africa.

His recent efforts have focused on identifying profitable enterprises for Cheetahs a new breed of Africans taking their futures into their own hands instead of waiting for politicians to empower them. His speech "Cheetahs vs. Hippos for Africa's Future" made a powerful impact at the TED Global Conference 2007 in Arusha, Tanzania.

George earned a Ph.D. from the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada; an M.A. University of Western Ontario, London, Canada and a B.Sc. Univ. of Ghana, Legon, Ghana.

Speech Topics

Defeating Dictators: Fighting Tyranny in Africa and Around the World

Despite billions of dollars of aid and the best efforts of the international community to improve economies and bolster democracy across Africa, violent dictatorships persist.

Taking Back Africa One Village at a Time Through Entrepreneurship

George is focused on bottom-up economics through Cheetah Enterprises - projects starting at the grassroots level that enable Africans to improve their quality of life.

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