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Introduction - Tunisia:
BackgroundRivalry 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 countrys 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. 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.
Location - Tunisia:
LocationNorthern Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Algeria and Libya
Geographic coordinates34 00 N, 9 00 E
Map referencesAfrica
Areatotal: 163,610 sq km
land: 155,360 sq km
water: 8,250 sq km
Area comparativeslightly larger than Georgia
Land boundariestotal: 1,424 km
border countries: Algeria 965 km, Libya 459 km
Coastline1,148 km
Maritime claimsterritorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
Climatetemperate in north with mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers; desert in south
Terrainmountains in north; hot, dry central plain; semiarid south merges into the Sahara
Elevation extremeslowest point: Shatt al Gharsah -17 m
highest point: Jebel ech Chambi 1,544 m
Natural resourcespetroleum, phosphates, iron ore, lead, zinc, salt
Land usearable land: 17.05%
permanent crops: 13.08%
other: 69.87% (2005)
Irrigated land3,940 sq km (2003)
Natural hazardsNA
Environment current issuestoxic 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 agreementsparty 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 notestrategic 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:
Population10,276,158 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure0-14 years: 24% (male 1,270,208/female 1,191,619)
15-64 years: 69.2% (male 3,571,228/female 3,538,458)
65 years and over: 6.9% (male 333,801/female 370,844) (2007 est.)
Median agetotal: 28.3 years
male: 27.7 years
female: 28.8 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate0.989% (2007 est.)
Birth rate15.54 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate5.17 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate-0.47 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.066 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.009 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.9 male(s)/female
total population: 1.015 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 22.94 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 25.75 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 19.92 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 75.34 years
male: 73.6 years
female: 77.21 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate1.73 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Hiv aids adult prevalence rateless than 0.1% (2005 est.)
Hiv aids people living with hiv aids1,000 (2003 est.)
Hiv aids deathsless than 200 (2003 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Tunisian(s)
adjective: Tunisian
Major infectious diseasesdegree of risk: intermediate
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea and hepatitis A
vectorborne diseases: may be a significant risk in some locations during the transmission season (typically April through November) (2007)
Ethnic groupsArab 98%, European 1%, Jewish and other 1%
ReligionsMuslim 98%, Christian 1%, Jewish and other 1%
LanguagesArabic (official and one of the languages of commerce), French (commerce)
Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 74.3%
male: 83.4%
female: 65.3% (2004 census)
Government - Tunisia:
Country nameconventional long form: Tunisian Republic
conventional short form: Tunisia
local long form: Al Jumhuriyah at Tunisiyah
local short form: Tunis
Government typerepublic
Capitalname: Tunis
geographic coordinates: 36 48 N, 10 11 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
Administrative divisions24 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)
Independence20 March 1956 (from France)
National holidayIndependence Day, 20 March (1956)
Constitution1 June 1959; amended 1988, 2002
Legal systembased 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
Suffrage20 years of age; universal except for active duty military
Executive branchchief 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
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (no term limits); election last held on 24 October 2004 (next to be held in October 2009); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: President Zine El Abidine BEN ALI reelected for a fourth term; percent of vote - Zine El Abidine BEN ALI 94.5%, Mohamed BOUCHIHA 3.8%, Mohamed Ali HALOUANI 1%
Legislative branchbicameral system consists of the Chamber of Deputies or Majlis al-Nuwaab (189 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms) and 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)
elections: Chamber of Deputies - last held on 24 October 2004 (next to be held in October 2009); Chamber of Advisors - last held on 3 July 2005 (next to be held in July 2011)
election results: Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - RCD 152, MDS 14, PUP 11, UDU 7, Al-Tajdid 3, PSL 2; Chamber of Advisors - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - RCD 71 (14 trade union seats vacant (boycotted))
Judicial branchCourt of Cassation or Cour de Cassation
Political parties and leadersAl-Tajdid Movement [Ali HALOUANI]; Constitutional Democratic Rally Party (Rassemblement Constitutionnel Democratique) or RCD (official ruling party) [President Zine El Abidine BEN ALI]; Green Party for Progress or PVP [Mongi KHAMASSI]; Liberal Social Party or PSL [Mounir BEJI]; Movement of Socialist Democrats or MDS [Ismail BOULAHYA]; Popular Unity Party or PUP [Mohamed BOUCHIHA]; Progressive Democratic Party [Nejib CHEBBI]; Unionist Democratic Union or UDU [Ahmed INOUBLI]
Political pressure groups and leaders18 October Group [collective leadership]; Democratic Forum for Labor and Liberties or FDTL [Mustapha Ben JAFAAR]; Tunisian League for Human Rights or LTDH [Mokhtar TRIFI]; note - the Islamic fundamentalist party, Al Nahda (Renaissance), is outlawed
Diplomatic representation in the uschief of mission: Ambassador Nejib HACHANA
chancery: 1515 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20005
telephone: [1] (202) 862-1850
FAX: [1] (202) 862-1858
Diplomatic representation from the uschief of mission: Ambassador Robert F. GODEC
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] 71 107-090
Flag descriptionred 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 overviewTunisia 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. Progressive social policies also have helped raise living conditions in Tunisia relative to the region. Real growth slowed to a 15-year low of 1.9% in 2002 because of agricultural drought and lackluster tourism. Increased rain helped to push GDP growth to an average rate of 5% in 2003-05. However, a recession in agriculture, weak expansion in the tourism and textile sectors, and increasing import costs due to rising world energy prices cut growth to 4% in 2006. Tunisia is gradually removing barriers to trade with the EU. Broader privatization, further liberalization of the investment code to increase foreign investment, improvements in government efficiency, and reduction of the trade deficit are among the challenges ahead.
Gdp purchasing power parity $89.74 billion (2006 est.)
Gdp official exchange rate $33.29 billion (2006 est.)
Gdp real growth rate5.1% (2006 est.)
Gdp per capita ppp $8,800 (2006 est.)
Gdp composition by sectoragriculture: 12.8%
industry: 31%
services: 56.2% (2006 est.)
Labor force3.502 million
note: shortage of skilled labor (2006 est.)
Labor force by occupationagriculture: 55%
industry: 23%
services: 22% (1995 est.)
Unemployment rate13.9% (2006 est.)
Population below poverty line7.4% (2005 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 2.3%
highest 10%: 31.8% (1995)
Distribution of family income gini index40 (2005 est.)
Inflation rate consumer prices 4.6% (2006 est.)
Investment gross fixed 22.3% of GDP (2006 est.)
Budgetrevenues: $7.728 billion
expenditures: $8.734 billion; including capital expenditures of $1.6 billion (2006 est.)
Public debt57.3% of GDP (2006 est.)
Agriculture productsolives, olive oil, grain, tomatoes, citrus fruit, sugar beets, dates, almonds; beef, dairy products
Industriespetroleum, mining (particularly phosphate and iron ore), tourism, textiles, footwear, agribusiness, beverages
Industrial production growth rate4.7% (2006 est.)
Electricity production11.81 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity consumption10.97 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity exports15 million kWh (2004)
Electricity imports5 million kWh (2004)
Oil production81,530 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil consumption89,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil exportsNA bbl/day
Oil importsNA bbl/day
Oil proved reserves1.7 billion bbl (2006 est.)
Natural gas production2.4 billion cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas consumption3.7 billion cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas exports0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas imports1.3 billion cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas proved reserves77.87 billion cu m (1 January 2005 est.)
Current account balance-$760 million (2006 est.)
Exports$11.61 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Exports commoditiesclothing, semi-finished goods and textiles, agricultural products, mechanical goods, phosphates and chemicals, hydrocarbons
Exports partnersFrance 28.9%, Italy 20.4%, Germany 8.6%, Spain 6.1%, Libya 4.9%, US 4% (2006)
Imports$13.89 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Imports commoditiestextiles, machinery and equipment, hydrocarbons, chemicals, foodstuffs
Imports partnersFrance 24.9%, Italy 21.8%, Germany 9.4%, Spain 4.7% (2006)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$6.646 billion (2006 est.)
Debt external$18.37 billion (30 June 2006 est.)
Economic aid recipient$328 million (2004)
Currency code Tunisian dinar (TND)
Exchange ratesTunisian dinars per US dollar - 1.331 (2006), 1.2974 (2005), 1.2455 (2004), 1.2885 (2003), 1.4217 (2002)
Communications - Tunisia:
Fiscal yearcalendar year
Telephones main lines in use1.268 million (2006)
Telephones mobile cellular7.339 million (2006)
Telephone systemgeneral 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: country code - 216; 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; 2 international gateway digital switches
Radio broadcast stationsAM 7, FM 20, shortwave 2 (1998)
Television broadcast stations26 (plus 76 repeaters) (1995)
Internet country code.tn
Internet hosts428 (2006)
Internet users1.295 million (2006)
Transportation - Tunisia:
Airports30 (2006)
Airports with paved runwaystotal: 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 (2006)
Airports with unpaved runwaystotal: 16
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 7
under 914 m: 7 (2006)
Pipelinesgas 2,945 km; oil 1,227 km; refined products 351 km (2006)
Railwaystotal: 2,153 km
standard gauge: 471 km 1.435-m gauge
narrow gauge: 1,674 km 1.000-m gauge (65 km electrified)
dual gauge: 8 km 1.435 m and 1.000-m gauges (three rails) (2006)
Roadwaystotal: 19,232 km
paved: 12,655 km (includes 262 km of expressways)
unpaved: 6,577 km (2004)
Merchant marinetotal: 9 ships (1000 GRT or over) 146,759 GRT/115,118 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 1, cargo 1, chemical tanker 3, passenger/cargo 4 (2006)
Ports and terminalsBizerte, Gabes, La Goulette, Skhira
Military - Tunisia:
Military branchesArmy, Navy, Republic of Tunisia Air Force (Al-Quwwat al-Jawwiya al-Jamahiriyah Attunisia) (2007)
Military service age and obligation20 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - 12 months; 18 years of age for voluntary military service (2006)
Manpower available for military servicemales age 20-49: 2,441,741
females age 20-49: 2,406,362 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military servicemales age 20-49: 2,035,431
females age 20-49: 2,000,757 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annuallymales age 18-49: 108,817
females age 20-49: 103,087 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures percent of gdp1.4% (2006)
This page was last updated on 16 September, 2007
Source: CIA >>>

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