- Art Gallery -

 

.

Tunisia, See : Flags, Maps

Tunisia (Africa)

EN :

Fountains in the Sand: Rambles Among the Oases of Tunisia , Norman Douglas

NL :

Onderweg in Tunis, B. Chantre

De Boe Hedma in Zuid-Tunis, Ch. Maumené

Introduction ::Tunisia

Background:

Rivalry between French and Italian interests in Tunisia culminated in a French invasion in 1881 and the creation of a protectorate. Agitation for independence in the decades following World War I was finally successful in getting the French to recognize Tunisia as an independent state in 1956. The country's first 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 November 1987, BOURGUIBA was removed from office and replaced by Zine el Abidine BEN ALI in a bloodless coup. BEN ALI is currently serving his fifth consecutive five-year term as president. Tunisia has long taken a moderate, non-aligned stance in its foreign relations. Domestically, it has sought to defuse rising pressure for a more open political society.

Geography ::Tunisia


View Larger Map

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 country comparison to the world: 92 land: 155,360 sq km

water: 8,250 sq km

Area - comparative:

slightly larger than Georgia

Land boundaries:

total: 1,424 km

border countries: Algeria 965 km, Libya 459 km

Postcard from Tunisia (Louise)

Coastline:

1,148 km

Maritime claims:

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive economic zone: 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

tunisia costume card

Land use:

arable land: 17.05%

permanent crops: 13.08%

other: 69.87% (2005)

Irrigated land:

3,940 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources:

4.6 cu km (2003)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):

total: 2.64 cu km/yr (14%/4%/82%)

per capita: 261 cu m/yr (2000)

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, Climate Change-Kyoto
Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental
Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping,
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:

10,589,025 (July 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 77

Age structure:

0-14 years: 22.7% (male 1,227,238/female 1,149,796)

15-64 years: 70.1% (male 3,701,661/female 3,652,322)

65 years and over: 7.2% (male 352,003/female 403,319) (2010 est.)

Median age:

total: 29.7 years

male: 29.1 years

female: 30.3 years (2010 est.)

Population growth rate:

0.969% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 122

Birth rate:

15.31 births/1,000 population (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 136

Death rate:

5.24 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 180

Net migration rate:

-0.38 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 138

Urbanization:

urban population: 67% of total population (2008)

rate of urbanization: 1.7% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.073 male(s)/female

under 15 years: 1.07 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)/female

total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2010 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 21.75 deaths/1,000 live births country comparison to the world: 94 male: 23.94 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 19.39 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 75.99 years country comparison to the world: 73 male: 74.17 years

female: 77.94 years (2010 est.)

Total fertility rate:

1.71 children born/woman (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 169

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

less than 0.1% (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 125

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

3,700 (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 128

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

fewer than 200 (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 115

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: 74.3%

male: 83.4%

female: 65.3% (2004 census)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):

total: 15 years

male: 14 years

female: 15 years (2008)

Education expenditures:

7.2% of GDP (2007) country comparison to the world: 18

Government ::Tunisia

Country name:

conventional long form: Tunisian Republic

conventional short form: Tunisia

local long form: Al Jumhuriyah at Tunisiyah

local short form: Tunis

Government type:

republic

Capital:

name: Tunis

geographic coordinates: 36 48 N, 10 11 E

time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions:

24 governorates; Ariana (Aryanah), Beja (Bajah), Ben Arous (Bin
'Arus), Bizerte (Banzart), Gabes (Qabis), Gafsa (Qafsah), Jendouba
(Jundubah), Kairouan (Al Qayrawan), Kasserine (Al Qasrayn), Kebili
(Qibili), Kef (Al Kaf), Mahdia (Al Mahdiyah), Manouba (Manubah),
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); also the anniversary of BEN ALI's assumption of the presidency, 7 November (1987)

Constitution:

1 June 1959; amended 1988, 2002

Legal system:

based on French civil law system and Islamic law; some judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court in joint session; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage:

18 years of age; universal except for active government security forces (including the police and the military), people with mental disabilities, people who have served more than three months in prison (criminal cases only), and people given a suspended sentence of more than six months

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 1999)

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president (For more information visit the World Leaders website ) elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (no term limits); election last held on 25 October 2009 (next to be held in October 2014); prime minister appointed by the president

election results: President Zine El Abidine BEN ALI reelected for a fifth term; percent of vote - Zine El Abidine BEN ALI 89.6%, Mohamed BOUCHIHA 5%, Ahmed INOUBLI 3.8%, Ahmed BRAHIM 1.6%; voter turnout 89.4%

Legislative branch:

bicameral system consists of the Chamber of Advisors (126 seats; 85 members elected by municipal counselors, deputies, mayors, and professional associations and trade unions; 41 members are presidential appointees; members serve six-year terms); and the Chamber of Deputies or Majlis al-Nuwaab (214 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)

elections: Chamber of Advisors - last held on 3 July 2005 (next to be held in July 2011); Chamber of Deputies - last held on 25 October 2009 (next to be held in October 2014);

election results: Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - RCD 84.6%, MDS 4.6%, PUP 3.4%, UDU 2.6%, PSL 2.2%, PVP 1.7%, Al-Tajdid 0.5%; seats by party - RCD 161, MDS 16, PUP 12, UDU 9, PSL 8, PVP 6, Al-Tajdid 2; voter turnout 89.4%

Judicial branch:

Court of Cassation or Cour de Cassation

Political parties and leaders:

Al-Tajdid Movement [Ahmed IBRAHIM]; Constitutional Democratic Rally
Party (Rassemblement Constitutionnel Democratique) or RCD;
Democratic Forum for Labor and Liberties or FDTL [Mustapha Ben
JAFAAR]; Green Party for Progress or PVP [Mongi KHAMASSI]; Liberal
Social Party or PSL [Mondher THABET]; Movement of Socialist
Democrats or MDS [Ismail BOULAHYA]; Popular Unity Party or PUP
[Mohamed BOUCHIHA]; Progressive Democratic Party [Maya JERIBI];
Unionist Democratic Union or UDU [Ahmed INOUBLI]; note - the
Islamist party, Al Nahda (Renaissance), is outlawed

Political pressure groups and leaders:

18 October Group [collective leadership]; Tunisian League for Human Rights or LTDH [Mokhtar TRIFI]

International organization participation:

ABEDA, AfDB, AFESD, AMF, AMU, AU, BSEC (observer), FAO, G-11, G-77,
IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO,
IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAS,
MIGA, MONUSCO, NAM, OAPEC, OAS (observer), OIC, OIF, OPCW, OSCE
(partner), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNOCI, UNWTO, UPU, WCO,
WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Mohamed Salah TEKAYA

chancery: 1515 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20005

telephone: [1] (202) 862-1850
FAX: [1] (202) 862-1858

Diplomatic representation from the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Gordon GRAY

embassy: Zone Nord-Est des Berges du Lac Nord de Tunis 1053

mailing address: use embassy street address

telephone: [216] 71 107-000
FAX: [216] 71 963-263

Flag description:

red with a white disk in the center bearing a red crescent nearly encircling a red five-pointed star; resembles the Ottoman flag (red banner with white crescent and star) and recalls Tunisia's history as part of the Ottoman Empire; red represents the blood shed by martyrs in the struggle against oppression, white stands for peace; the crescent and star are traditional symbols of Islam

note: the flag is based on that of Turkey, itself a successor state to the Ottoman Empire

National anthem:

name: "Humat Al Hima" (Defenders of the Homeland)

lyrics/music: Mustafa Sadik AL-RAFII and Aboul-Qacem ECHEBBI/Mohamad Abdel WAHAB

note: adopted 1957, replaced 1958, restored 1987; Mohamad Abdel WAHAB also composed the music for the anthem of the United Arab Emirates

Economy ::Tunisia

Economy - overview:

Tunisia has a diverse economy, with important agricultural, mining, 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. Progressive social policies also have helped raise living conditions in Tunisia relative to the region. Real growth, which averaged almost 5% over the past decade, declined to 4.6% in 2008 and to 3-4% in 2009-10 because of economic contraction and slowing of import demand in Europe - Tunisia's largest export market. However, development of non-textile manufacturing, a recovery in agricultural production, and strong growth in the services sector somewhat mitigated the economic effect of slowing exports. Tunisia will need to reach even higher growth levels to create sufficient employment opportunities for an already large number of unemployed as well as the growing population of university graduates. The challenges ahead include: privatizing industry, liberalizing the investment code to increase foreign investment, improving government efficiency, reducing the trade deficit, and reducing socioeconomic disparities in the impoverished south and west.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$100.3 billion (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 70 $97.03 billion (2009 est.)

$94.22 billion (2008 est.)

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):

$43.86 billion (2010 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

3.4% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 104 3% (2009 est.)

4.6% (2008 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$9,500 (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 113 $9,300 (2009 est.)

$9,100 (2008 est.)

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 10.6%

industry: 34.6%

services: 54.8% (2010 est.)

Labor force:

3.83 million (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 90

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 18.3%

industry: 31.9%

services: 49.8% (2009 est.)

Unemployment rate:

14% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 143 13.3% (2009 est.)

Population below poverty line:

3.8% (2005 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 2.3%

highest 10%: 31.5% (2000)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:

40 (2005 est.) country comparison to the world: 62 41.7 (1995 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):

26.1% of GDP (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 38

Public debt:

49.5% of GDP (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 53 47.1% of GDP (2009 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

4.5% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 130 3.5% (2009 est.)

Central bank discount rate:

NA% (31 December 2009)

NA% (31 December 2008)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
NA%

Stock of narrow money:

$11.49 billion (31 December 2010 est) country comparison to the world: 70 $11.02 billion (31 December 2009 est)

Stock of broad money:

$29.39 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 74 $26.88 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:

$31.1 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 68 $28.45 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:

$9.12 billion (31 December 2009) country comparison to the world: 76 $6.374 billion (31 December 2008)

$5.355 billion (31 December 2007)

Agriculture - products:

olives, olive oil, grain, tomatoes, citrus fruit, sugar beets, dates, almonds; beef, dairy products

Industries:

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

Industrial production growth rate:

1.6% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 137

Electricity - production:

11.08 billion kWh (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 89

Electricity - consumption:

11.8 billion kWh (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 81

Electricity - exports:

130 million kWh (2007 est.)

Electricity - imports:

145 million kWh (2007 est.)

Oil - production:

91,380 bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 54

Oil - consumption:

89,000 bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 81

Oil - exports:

77,130 bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 69

Oil - imports:

87,300 bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 68

Oil - proved reserves:

425 million bbl (1 January 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 51

Natural gas - production:

2.97 billion cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 54

Natural gas - consumption:

4.22 billion cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 64

Natural gas - exports:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 107

Natural gas - imports:

1.25 billion cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 52

Natural gas - proved reserves:

65.13 billion cu m (1 January 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 59

Current account balance:

-$1.389 billion (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 146 -$1.234 billion (2009 est.)

Exports:

$16.11 billion (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 74 $14.42 billion (2009 est.)

Exports - commodities:

clothing, semi-finished goods and textiles, agricultural products, mechanical goods, phosphates and chemicals, hydrocarbons, electrical equipment

Exports - partners:

France 29.6%, Italy 21%, Germany 8.8%, Libya 5.8%, Spain 5%, UK 4.8% (2009)

Imports:

$20.02 billion (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 72 $18.12 billion (2009 est.)

Imports - commodities:

textiles, machinery and equipment, hydrocarbons, chemicals, foodstuffs

Imports - partners:

France 20.1%, Italy 16.4%, Germany 8.8%, China 5%, Spain 4.5%, US 4% (2009)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$11.23 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 51 $11.06 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Debt - external:

$18.76 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 73 $19.6 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:

$33.56 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 60 $31.86 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:

$251 million (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 78 $233 million (31 December 2009 est.)

Exchange rates:

Tunisian dinars (TND) per US dollar - 1.4367 (2010), 1.3503 (2009), 1.211 (2008), 1.2776 (2007), 1.331 (2006)

Communications ::Tunisia

Telephones - main lines in use:

1.279 million (2009) country comparison to the world: 69

Telephones - mobile cellular:

9.754 million (2009) country comparison to the world: 65

Telephone system:

general assessment: above the African average and continuing to be upgraded; key centers are Sfax, Sousse, Bizerte, and Tunis; telephone network is completely digitized; Internet access available throughout the country

domestic: in an effort to jumpstart expansion of the fixed-line network, the government has awarded a concession to build and operate a VSAT network with international connectivity; rural areas are served by wireless local loops; competition between the two mobile-cellular service providers has resulted in lower activation and usage charges and a strong surge in subscribership; a third mobile, fixed, and ISP operator was licensed in 2009 and will begin offering services in 2010; expansion of mobile-cellular services to include multimedia messaging and e-mail and Internet to mobile phone services also leading to a surge in subscribership; overall fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity is about 100 telephones per 100 persons

international: country code - 216; a landing point for the SEA-ME-WE-4 submarine cable system that provides links to Europe, Middle East, and Asia; satellite earth stations - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) and 1 Arabsat; coaxial cable and microwave radio relay to Algeria and Libya; participant in Medarabtel; 2 international gateway digital switches

Broadcast media:

broadcast media is mainly government-controlled; the state-run Tunisian Radio and Television Establishment (ERTT) operates 2 national television networks, several national radio networks, and a number of regional radio stations; 1 TV and 3 radio stations are privately-owned and report domestic news stories directly from the official Tunisian news agency; the state retains control of broadcast facilities and transmitters through L'Office National de la Telediffusion; Tunisians also have access to Egyptian, pan-Arab, and European satellite TV channels (2007)

Internet country code:

.tn

Internet hosts:

490 (2010) country comparison to the world: 181

Internet users:

3.5 million (2009) country comparison to the world: 60

Transportation ::Tunisia

Airports:

32 (2010) country comparison to the world: 113

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 16

over 3,047 m: 4

2,438 to 3,047 m: 6

1,524 to 2,437 m: 2

914 to 1,523 m: 4 (2010)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 16

1,524 to 2,437 m: 2

914 to 1,523 m: 7

under 914 m: 7 (2010)

Pipelines:

gas 2,179 km; oil 1,285 km; refined products 372 km (2009)

Railways:

total: 2,167 km country comparison to the world: 70 standard gauge: 471 km 1.435-m gauge

narrow gauge: 1,688 km 1.000-m gauge (65 km electrified)

dual gauge: 8 km (2008)

Roadways:

total: 19,232 km country comparison to the world: 111 paved: 12,655 km (includes 262 km of expressways)

unpaved: 6,577 km (2006)

Merchant marine:

total: 11 country comparison to the world: 111 by type: bulk carrier 1, cargo 2, chemical tanker 2, passenger/cargo 4, roll on/roll off 2

registered in other countries: 1 (Panama 1) (2010)

Ports and terminals:

Bizerte, Gabes, Rades, Sfax, Skhira

Military ::Tunisia

Military branches:

Tunisian Armed Forces (Forces Armees Tunisiens, FAT): Army, Navy,
Republic of Tunisia Air Force (Al-Quwwat al-Jawwiya al-Jamahiriyah
At'tunisia) (2009)

Military service age and obligation:

20 years of age for compulsory military service, 18 years of age for voluntary military service; 1-year conscript service obligation (2007)

Manpower available for military service:

males age 16-49: 3,065,431

females age 16-49: 2,974,060 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:

males age 16-49: 2,594,602

females age 16-49: 2,510,159 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:

male: 96,697

female: 90,599 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures:

1.4% of GDP (2006) country comparison to the world: 109

Transnational Issues ::Tunisia

Disputes - international:

none

World

Hellenica World

Index