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Map of Tunisia
Introduction Tunisia
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:
total population: 74.16 years
female: 75.89 years (2002 est.)
male: 72.56 years
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:
conventional long form: Republic of Tunisia
conventional short form: Tunisia
local short form: Tunis
local long form: Al Jumhuriyah at 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 1999)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last 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, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, MIPONUH, MONUC, NAM, OAS (observer), OAU, OIC, OPCW, OSCE (partner), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMEE, UNMIK, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO
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, food
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 switches
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, Zarzis
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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