The Failure of African Socialism

George Ayittey is a Ghanian economist and the founder and president of the Free Africa Foundation. He also taught economics at American University and is an associate scholar at the Foreign Policy Research Institute.

In this lecture, Ayittey talks about the failure of Africa’s experiments with socialism throughout the 20th century. He tells stories about the inefficiency, waste, and bureaucratic corruption in countries like Ghana, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe, and says that wrangling Africa’s political class is of paramount importance when it comes to African development.

This talk was hosted at the Future of Freedom Conference in San Francisco during 1989 and, unfortunately, many of the problems Ayittey points out then, are indicative of the continent now. Notice that he points blame for Africa’s problems to the African intellectuals and political class.

PHOTO CREDIT: People in Agbogbloshie, near the center of Accra, Ghana’s capital city By Lionel Scheepmans – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,