In developed countries, Internet penetration is near saturation and population growth is stagnant. In contrast, the African population is young and growing quickly. UNICEF estimates that by the end of the century, 40% of the world's population will be African.a Where Africa in May 2016 had 16% Internet penetration, the McKinsey Global Institute predicted in 2013 that by 2025 the penetration rate will be approximately 50%b and that 600 million Africans will be using the Internet,c producing approximately $75 billion in annual e-commerce activity and contributing $300 billion to African GDP.
West Africa is a diverse region in sub-Saharan Africa, including both the Sahel desert and lush rain forests. Many local languages from distinct language groups are spoken, along with the former colonial languages, including French, Spanish, Portuguese, and English. The region includes thriving democracies like Ghana (with press freedom ranked by Reporters Without Borders better than France and the U.K.) and repressive regimes like Equatorial Guinea (with press freedom ranked by Reporters Without Borders at the level of Cuba, Eritrea, Iran, and North Korea). The majority of the West African population lives in countries that do not allow effective freedom of expression.d,e