The 21-year-old took over a third of the votes to follow in the footsteps of his father, Abedi “Pele” Ayew, who won the inaugural BBC award in 1991.
Ayew beat Yaya Toure, Gervinho, Samuel Eto’o and Seydou Keita to the title.
“I’m honoured and surprised to receive this prestigious award, especially considering the great players who have won it in the past,” said Ayew.
“I thank all the people who voted for me – in Ghana, in Africa and in the world.
“I’m going to work hard to show them they made a good choice.”
The award was voted for by African football fans who nominated their favourites either by text or email.
They chose from a shortlist which was drawn up by football experts from every country in Africa, who based their choices on players’ skill, technical ability, teamwork, consistency and fair play.
After making an impact on the international stage in 2010, when he impressed observers at both the Africa Cup of Nations and Fifa World Cup, 2011 marked a year when Ayew became a key figure at club level.