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Tunisia Flag

Border countries: Algeria, Libya

Country Profile

Capital City: Tunis

Other Cities: Sfax

Local Time: UTC +1h (summer UTC +2h)

Location: Northern Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea
Area: 163 610 sq. km. (63 378 sq. mi.)
Terrain: Arable land in north and along central coast; south is mostly semiarid or desert.

Climate: Hot, dry summers and mild, rainy winters.

Type: Republic
Independence: 20 March 1956 (from France)

Nationality: Tunisian(s).
Population: 10 million
GNI per capita PPP: $ 8223 (year) Ethnic Groups: Arab-Berber 98%, European 1%, other 1%. Religions: Muslim 98%, Christian 1%, Jewish less than 1%.
Languages: Arabic (official), French.
Literacy: male 77%; female 55%


Currency: Tunisian Dinar (TND)

Natural resources: Petroleum, phosphates, iron ore, lead, zinc, salt.

Agriculture products: Olives, olive oil, grain, dairy products, tomatoes, citrus fruit, beef, sugar beets, dates, almonds.

Industries: Petroleum, mining, tourism, textiles, footwear, agribusiness, beverages.

Exports partners:
France 30%, Italy 23.3%, Germany 9.3%, Spain 5.3%, Belgium 4.3%, Libya 4.2% (2004)

Imports partners: France 27.5%, Italy 20.8%, Germany 9.2%, Spain 5.7% (2004)

Internet Links

Official Sites of Tunisia

Gouvernement Tunisien

Diplomatic Missions
Tunisia and the United Nations

Embassy of the Republic of Tunisia in Japan

Institut National de la Statistique

Institut National de la Météorologie

Map of Tunisia

Map of North Africa and the Middle East



Background:  Following independence from France in 1956, President
Habib BOURGUIBA established a strict one-party state. He dominated the
country for 31 years, repressing Islamic fundamentalism and establishing
rights for women unmatched by any other Arab nation. In recent years,
Tunisia has taken a moderate, non-aligned stance in its foreign
relations. Domestically, it has sought to diffuse rising pressure for
a more open political society.

Geography Tunisia

Location:  Northern Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between
Algeria and Libya

Geographic coordinates:  34 00 N, 9 00 E

Map references:  Africa

Area:  total: 163,610 sq km water: 8,250 sq km land: 155,360 sq km

Area - comparative:  slightly larger than Georgia

Land boundaries:  total: 1,424 km border countries: Algeria 965 km,
Libya 459 km

Coastline:  1,148 km

Maritime claims:  contiguous zone: 24 NM territorial sea: 12 NM

Climate:  temperate in north with mild, rainy winters and hot, dry
summers; desert in south

Terrain:  mountains in north; hot, dry central plain; semiarid south
merges into the Sahara

Elevation extremes:  lowest point: Shatt al Gharsah -17 m highest point:
Jebel ech Chambi 1,544 m

Natural resources:  petroleum, phosphates, iron ore, lead, zinc, salt

Land use:  arable land: 19% permanent crops: 13% other: 68% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land:  3,800 sq km (1998 est.)

Natural hazards:  NA

Environment - current issues:  toxic and hazardous waste disposal is
ineffective and poses health risks; water pollution from raw sewage;
limited natural fresh water resources; deforestation; overgrazing;
soil erosion; desertification

Environment - international agreements:  party to: Biodiversity, Climate
Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification,
Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone
Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands signed, but not ratified:
Marine Life Conservation

Geography - note:  strategic location in central Mediterranean; Malta
and Tunisia are discussing the commercial exploitation of the continental
shelf between their countries, particularly for oil exploration

People Tunisia

Population:  9,815,644 (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:  0-14 years: 27.8% (male 1,412,625; female 1,320,729)
15-64 years: 65.9% (male 3,234,770; female 3,233,149) 65 years and over:
6.3% (male 303,093; female 311,278) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate:  1.12% (2002 est.)

Birth rate:  16.83 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate:  5 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate:  -0.63 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Sex ratio:  at birth: 1.08 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.07
male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.97
male(s)/female total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate:  27.97 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:   75.89 years (2002 est.)  male: Total fertility
rate:  1.94 children born/woman (2002 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:  0.04% (1999 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:  NA

HIV/AIDS - deaths:  NA

Nationality:  noun: Tunisian(s) adjective: Tunisian

Ethnic groups:  Arab 98%, European 1%, Jewish and other 1%

Religions:  Muslim 98%, Christian 1%, Jewish and other 1%

Languages:  Arabic (official and one of the languages of commerce),
French (commerce)

Literacy:  definition: age 15 and over can read and write total
population: 66.7% male: 78.6% female: 54.6% (1995 est.)

Government Tunisia

Country name:   Republic of Tunisia conventional short form:  Tunisiyah

Government type:  republic

Capital:  Tunis

Administrative divisions:  23 governorates; Ariana (Aryanah), Beja
(Bajah), Ben Arous (Bin 'Arus), Bizerte (Banzart), El Kef (Al Kaf), Gabes
(Qabis), Gafsa (Qafsah), Jendouba (Jundubah), Kairouan (Al Qayrawan),
Kasserine (Al Qasrayn), Kebili (Qibili), Mahdia (Al Mahdiyah), Medenine
(Madanin), Monastir (Al Munastir), Nabeul (Nabul), Sfax (Safaqis), Sidi
Bou Zid (Sidi Bu Zayd), Siliana (Silyanah), Sousse (Susah), Tataouine
(Tatawin), Tozeur (Tawzar), Tunis, Zaghouan (Zaghwan)

Independence:  20 March 1956 (from France)

National holiday:  Independence Day, 20 March (1956)

Constitution:  1 June 1959; amended 12 July 1988

Legal system:  based on French civil law system and Islamic law; some
judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court in joint session

Suffrage:  20 years of age; universal

Executive branch:  chief of state: President Zine El Abidine BEN ALI
(since 7 November 1987) head of government: Prime Minister Mohamed
GHANNOUCHI (since 17 November
 Council of Ministers appointed by the president elections:  held 24
 October 1999 (next to be held NA 2004); prime minister appointed
by the president election results: President Zine El Abidine BEN ALI
reelected for a third term without opposition; percent of vote - Zine
El Abidine BEN ALI nearly 100%

Legislative branch:  unicameral Chamber of Deputies or Majlis al-Nuwaab
(182 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 24 October 1999 (next to be held NA 2004) election
results: percent of vote by party - RCD 92%; seats by party - RCD 148, MDS
13, UDU 7, PUP 7, Al-Tajdid 5, PSL 2; note - reforms enabled opposition
parties to win up to 20% of seats, increasing the number of seats they
hold from 19 in the last election to 34 now

Judicial branch:  Court of Cassation or Cour de Cassation

Political parties and leaders:  Al-Tajdid Movement [Adel CHAOUCH];
Constitutional Democratic Rally Party (Rassemblement Constitutionnel
Democratique) or RCD [President Zine El Abidine BEN ALI (official ruling
party)]; Liberal Social Party or PSL [Mounir BEJI]; Movement of Democratic
Socialists or MDS [Khamis CHAMMARI]; Popular Unity Party or PUP [Mohamed
Belhaj AMOR]; Unionist Democratic Union or UDU [Abderrahmane TLILI]

Political pressure groups and leaders:  the Islamic fundamentalist party,
Al Nahda (Renaissance), is outlawed

International organization participation:  ABEDA, ACCT, AfDB, AFESD, AL,
AMF, AMU, BSEC (observer), CCC, ECA, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC,

Diplomatic representation in the US:  chief of mission: Ambassador Hatem
ATALLAH FAX: [1] (202) 862-1858 telephone: [1] (202) 862-1850 chancery:
1515 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20005

Diplomatic representation from the US:  chief of mission: Ambassador Rust
M. DEMING embassy: 144 Avenue de la Liberte, 1002 Tunis-Belvedere mailing
address: use embassy street address telephone: [216] (1) 782-566 FAX:
[216] (1) 789-719

Flag description:  red with a white disk in the center bearing a red
crescent nearly encircling a red five-pointed star; the crescent and
star are traditional symbols of Islam

Economy Tunisia

Economy - overview:  Tunisia has a diverse economy, with
important agricultural, mining, energy, tourism, and manufacturing
sectors. Governmental control of economic affairs while still heavy has
gradually lessened over the past decade with increasing privatization,
simplification of the tax structure, and a prudent approach to
debt. Real growth averaged 5.4% in the past five years, and inflation is
slowing. Growth in tourism and increased trade have been key elements
in this steady growth, although tourism revenues have slowed since 11
September 2001 and may take a year or more to fully recover. Tunisia's
association agreement with the European Union entered into force on 1
March 1998, the first such accord between the EU and a Mediterranean
country. Under the agreement Tunisia will gradually remove barriers to
trade with the EU over the next decade. Broader privatization, further
liberalization of the investment code to increase foreign investment,
and improvements in government efficiency are among the challenges for
the future.

GDP:  purchasing power parity - $64.5 billion (2001 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:  4.8% (2001 est.)

GDP - per capita:  purchasing power parity - $6,600 (2001 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:  agriculture: 13% industry: 33% services:
54% (2000 est.)

Population below poverty line:  6% (2000 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:  lowest 10%: 2.3%
highest 10%: 31.8% (1995)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:  41.7 (1995)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):  2.7% (2001 est.)

Labor force:  2.69 million (2001 est.)  note: shortage of skilled labor

Labor force - by occupation:  services 55%, industry 23%, agriculture 22%
(1995 est.)

Unemployment rate:  15.6% (2000 est.)

Budget:  revenues: $5.7 billion expenditures: $6.3 billion, including
capital expenditures of $1.5 billion (2001 est.)

Industries:  petroleum, mining (particularly phosphate and iron ore),
tourism, textiles, footwear, agribusiness, beverages

Industrial production growth rate:  5.2% (2001 est.)

Electricity - production:  10.3 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - production by source:  fossil fuel: 99.03% hydro: 0.97%
other: 0% (2000) nuclear: 0%

Electricity - consumption:  9.562 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - exports:  19 million kWh (2000)

Electricity - imports:  2 million kWh (2000)

Agriculture - products:  olives, olive oil, grain, dairy products,
tomatoes, citrus fruit, beef, sugar beets, dates, almonds

Exports:  $6.6 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)

Exports - commodities:  textiles, mechanical goods, phosphates and
chemicals, agricultural products, hydrocarbons

Exports - partners:  France 28%, Italy 21%, Germany 14%, Belgium 6%,
Libya (2000)

Imports:  $8.9 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)

Imports - commodities:  machinery and equipment, hydrocarbons, chemicals,

Imports - partners:  France 30%, Italy 21%, Germany 11%, Spain 4%,
Belgium (2000)

Debt - external:  $11.5 billion (2001 est.)

Economic aid - recipient:  $933.2 million (1995); note - ODA, $90 million
(1998 est.)

Currency:  Tunisian dinar (TND)

Currency code:  TND

Exchange rates:  Tunisian dinars per US dollar - 1.44 (January 2002),
1.3753 (2001), 1.3707 (2000), 1.1862 (1999), 1.1387 (1998), 1.1059 (1997)

Fiscal year:  calendar year

Communications Tunisia

Telephones - main lines in use:  654,000 (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:  50,000 (1998)

Telephone system:  general assessment: above the African average and
continuing to be upgraded; key centers are Sfax, Sousse, Bizerte, and
Tunis; Internet access available domestic: trunk facilities consist of
open-wire lines, coaxial cable, and microwave radio relay international:
5 submarine cables; satellite earth stations - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
and 1 Arabsat; coaxial cable and microwave radio relay to Algeria and
Libya; participant in Medarabtel; two international gateway digital

Radio broadcast stations:  AM 7, FM 20, shortwave 2 (1998)

Radios:  2.06 million (1997)

Television broadcast stations:  26 (plus 76 repeaters) (1995)

Televisions:  920,000 (1997)

Internet country code:  .tn

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):  1 (2000)

Internet users:  280,000 (2001)

Transportation Tunisia

Railways:  total: 2,168 km standard gauge: 471 km 1.435-m gauge dual
gauge: 10 km 1.000-m and 1.435-m gauges (three rails) (2001) narrow gauge:
1,687 km 1.000-m gauge

Highways:  total: 23,100 km paved: 18,226 km unpaved: 4,874 km (1996)

Waterways:  none

Pipelines:  crude oil 797 km; petroleum products 86 km; natural gas 742 km

Ports and harbors:  Bizerte, Gabes, La Goulette, Sfax, Sousse, Tunis,

Merchant marine:  total: 16 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 150,710
GRT/162,616 DWT ships by type: bulk 2, cargo 4, chemical tanker 4,
liquefied gas 1, petroleum tanker 1, short-sea passenger 3, specialized
tanker 1 (2002 est.)

Airports:  30 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:  total: 14 over 3,047 m: 3 2,438 to 3,047
m: 6 1,524 to 2,437 m: 2 914 to 1,523 m: 3 (2001)

Airports - with unpaved runways:  total: 16 1,524 to 2,437 m: 2 914 to
1,523 m: 7 under 914 m: 7 (2001)

Military Tunisia

Military branches:  Army, Navy, Air Force, paramilitary forces,
National Guard

Military manpower - military age:  20 years of age (2002 est.)

Military manpower - availability:  males age 15-49: 2,806,881 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:  males age 15-49: 1,597,565
(2002 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually:  males: 105,146
(2002 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure:  $356 million (FY99)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP:  1.5% (FY99)

Transnational Issues Tunisia

Disputes - international:  none

This page was last updated on 1 January 2002

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Tunisia History






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