Reference > World Factbook, 2008
  The World Factbook.  2008.
Flag of Tunisia                                Map of 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 fourth consecutive five-year term as president; the next elections are scheduled for October 2009. 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: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
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
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
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
Population:10,276,158 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure:0-14 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 age:total: 28.3 years
male: 27.7 years
female: 28.8 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate:0.989% (2007 est.)
Birth rate:15.54 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate:5.17 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate:-0.47 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio:at 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 rate:total: 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 birth:total population: 75.34 years
male: 73.6 years
female: 77.21 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate:1.73 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS—adult prevalence rate:less than 0.1% (2005 est.)
HIV/AIDS—people living with HIV/AIDS:1,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS—deaths:less than 200 (2003 est.)
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)
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)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
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
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 branch:bicameral 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 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 (official ruling party) [President Zine El Abidine BEN ALI]; 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]
Political pressure groups and leaders:18 October Group [collective leadership]; Tunisian League for Human Rights or LTDH [Mokhtar TRIFI]; note - the Islamist Party, Al Nahda (Renaissance), is outlawed
International organization participation:ABEDA, ACCT, AfDB, AFESD, AMF, AMU, AU, BSEC (observer), FAO, 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, MONUC, NAM, OAPEC (suspended), OAS (observer), OIC, OIF, OPCW, OSCE (partner), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMEE, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US:chief 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 US:chief 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 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—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, reached 6.3% in 2007 because of development in non-textile manufacturing, a recovery in agricultural production, and strong growth in the services sector. However, 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. 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):$77.16 billion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):$34.54 billion (2007 est.)
GDP—real growth rate:6.3% (2007 est.)
GDP—per capita (PPP):$7,500 (2007 est.)
GDP—composition by sector:agriculture: 11.5%
industry: 30%
services: 58.5% (2007 est.)
Labor force:3.591 million (2007 est.)
Labor force—by occupation:agriculture: 55%
industry: 23%
services: 22% (1995 est.)
Unemployment rate:13.9% (2007 est.)
Population below poverty line:7.4% (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.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):2.9% (2007 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):23.6% of GDP (2007 est.)
Budget:revenues: $8.355 billion
expenditures: $9.476 billion (2007 est.)
Public debt:54.5% of GDP (2007 est.)
Agriculture—products:olives, olive oil, grain, tomatoes, citrus fruit, sugar beets, dates, almonds; beef, dairy products
Industries:petroleum, mining (particularly phosphate and iron ore), tourism, textiles, footwear, agribusiness, beverages
Industrial production growth rate:4.1% (2007 est.)
Electricity—production:12.85 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity—consumption:11.17 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity—exports:0 kWh (2005)
Electricity—imports:0 kWh (2005)
Oil—production:76,900 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil—consumption:90,000 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil—exports:75,060 bbl/day (2004)
Oil—imports:85,680 bbl/day (2004)
Oil—proved reserves:307.6 million bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas—production:2.398 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas—consumption:4.124 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas—exports:0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas—imports:1.726 billion cu m (2005)
Natural gas—proved reserves:74.68 billion cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance:$-935 million (2007 est.)
Exports:$14.81 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Exports—commodities:clothing, semi-finished goods and textiles, agricultural products, mechanical goods, phosphates and chemicals, hydrocarbons, electrical equipment
Exports—partners:France 28.9%, Italy 20.4%, Germany 8.6%, Spain 6.1%, Libya 4.9%, US 4% (2006)
Imports:$17.9 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Imports—commodities:textiles, machinery and equipment, hydrocarbons, chemicals, foodstuffs
Imports—partners:France 25%, Italy 21.9%, Germany 9.7%, Spain 4.9% (2006)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:$7.183 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt—external:$18.56 billion (December 2007)
Stock of direct foreign investment—at home:$21.22 billion (2006 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment—abroad:$57 million (2006 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares:$4.446 billion (2006)
Economic aid—recipient:$376.5 million (2005)
Currency (code):Tunisian dinar (TND)
Exchange rates:Tunisian dinars per US dollar - 1.2776 (2007), 1.331 (2006), 1.2974 (2005), 1.2455 (2004), 1.2885 (2003)
Fiscal year:calendar year
Telephones—main lines in use:1.268 million (2006)
Telephones—mobile cellular:7.339 million (2006)
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: in an effort jumpstart expansion of the fixed-line network, the government has awarded a concession to build and operate a VSAT network with international connectivity; competition between the two mobile-cellular service providers has resulted in lower activation and usage charges and a strong surge in subscribership; overall fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity is about 85 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
Radio broadcast stations:AM 7, FM 38, shortwave 2 (2007)
Television broadcast stations:26 (plus 76 repeaters) (1995)
Internet country
Internet hosts:1,163 (2007)
Internet users:1.295 million (2006)
Airports:30 (2007)
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 (2007)
Airports—with unpaved runways:total: 16
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 7
under 914 m: 7 (2007)
Pipelines:gas 2,665 km; oil 1,235 km; refined products 353 km (2007)
Railways:total: 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)
Roadways:total: 19,232 km
paved: 12,655 km (includes 262 km of expressways)
unpaved: 6,577 km (2004)
Merchant marine:total: 8 ships (1000 GRT or over) 130,475 GRT/91,013 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 1, cargo 1, chemical tanker 2, passenger/cargo 4
foreign-owned: 1 (Libya 1) (2007)
Ports and terminals:Bizerte, Gabes, La Goulette, Rades, Sfax, Skhira
Military branches:Army, Navy, Republic of Tunisia Air Force (Al-Quwwat al-Jawwiya al-Jamahiriyah At'tunisia) (2007)
Military service age and obligation:20 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - 12 months; 18 years of age for voluntary military service (2007)
Manpower available for military service:males age 20-49: 2,441,741
females age 20-49: 2,406,362 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:males age 20-49: 2,035,431
females age 20-49: 2,000,757 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:males age 18-49: 108,817
females age 20-49: 103,087 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures—percent of GDP:1.4% (2006)
Transnational Issues


Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2015 · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors · World Lit.