Congo gained independence from Belgium in 1960. Its history is punctuated by fighting among armed factions.
The average life expectancy among the population of 80 million is about 57 years old.
More than 70 percent of the population lacks access to modern sanitation facilities.
Nine percent of people have access to electricity, which comes almost entirely from hydroelectric plants.
It's the largest country in sub-Saharan Africa.
Source: CIA Factbook, USAID