Democracy in much of Africa is currently constrained from delivering on its development potential for three reasons. Firstly, governance capacity is lacking. Secondly, the quality of electoral democracy is thin. Finally, neo patrimonialism undermines electoral democracy in Africa. A forecast to 2070 quantifies the contribution that different levels of democracy would have on Africa’s economic and human development under two scenarios: a democratic regression and a positive wave of democracy. As countries climb the income ladder and become more socially and economically complex, democracy steadily contributes to good governance, development and growth. This only happens if the key components of electoral democracy are realized. This paper departs from the premise that neither good governance nor democracy is a pre-condition for early development and thus that ‘neither authoritarianism nor corruption is incompatible with economic growth.