Salah, who moved to Liverpool at the beginning of the 17/18 season for a reported fee of 42 million euros, is on form for both club and country.
"The Egyptian Messi” has scored 17 goals in the first half of the Premier League season, and led his country to its first World Cup since 1990 after scoring five goals in six games in the qualifying round.
"It was very difficult to explain the moment, to qualify to the World Cup after 28 years,” he said after the ceremony in Ghana. "This is a big award for me… It's a special moment.”
Salah's teammate Sadio Mane finished second, and Borussia Dortmund's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who will now fly to Spain to join his team's training camp, came third in the vote.
Egypt was voted the team of the year, with manager Hector Cuper winning Africa's coach of the year.