The Republic of the Congo, located in Central Africa, gained its independence from France in 1960. It shares borders with Gabon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cameroon, Central African Republic, and Angola. Situated in the Congo River basin, the second largest rainforest area in the world after the Amazon, the Republic of the Congo straddles the equator and has a tropical climate. The majority of the population of around 4 million lives in the south of the country in the area between the capital, Brazzaville, and the port city of Pointe-Noire, with just over 60% living in urban areas. There are 15 main Bantu ethnic groups and a small population of Pygmies in the northern forest areas. Still recovering from two periods of civil war in the last decade, despite substantial oil revenues, much of the population lives in poverty without adequate access to quality healthcare and economic opportunity. The average life expectancy is around 54 years and the infant mortality rate is around 80 deaths per 1000 live births. The Republic of the Congo is a place of dazzling biodiversity and cultural riches but is also a modern society facing severe problems such as poverty, malaria, AIDS, deforestation, educational shortages, and child trafficking. The Henri-Alain Baniakina Foundation is committed to finding the solutions to help alleviate these dire conditions in which the Congolese people live.

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