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Koa is a web application framework for Node.js. Developed by the team behind Express, Koa aims to be a smaller, more expressive and more robust foundation for web applications and APIs. It utilizes middleware functions in a more efficient manner than its predecessor, replacing callbacks with JavaScript's async/await syntax to enhance readability and error handling without additional libraries like co. Koa cannot process requests on its own; it requires an HTTP server such as http.createServer() provided by Node.js to handle incoming requests from clients.