Open main menu
CIA WFB Seal.png Tunisia Flag of Tunisia (WFB 2004).gif
Tunisia map-EN.png
 
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 defuse 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: territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 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: 17.86%
permanent crops: 13.74%
other: 68.4% (2001)
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, 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: 9,974,722 (July 2004 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 26% (male 1,337,546; female 1,253,814)
15-64 years: 67.5% (male 3,373,199; female 3,360,402)
65 years and over: 6.5% (male 315,151; female 334,610) (2004 est.)
Median age: total: 26.8 years
male: 26.3 years
female: 27.3 years (2004 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.01% (2004 est.)
Birth rate: 15.74 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Death rate: 5.05 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Net migration rate: -0.57 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.94 male(s)/female
total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2004 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 25.76 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 22.59 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
male: 28.7 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 74.66 years
male: 73 years
female: 76.44 years (2004 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.79 children born/woman (2004 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: 74.2%
male: 84%
female: 64.4% (2003 est.)
 
Government Tunisia
Country name: conventional long form: Tunisian Republic
conventional short form: Tunisia
local short form: Tunis
local long form: Al Jumhuriyah at Tunisiyah
Government type: republic
Capital: Tunis
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)
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 2004 (next to be held 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: unicameral Chamber of Deputies or Majlis al-Nuwaab (189 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 24 October 2004 (next to be held October 2009)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - RCD 152, MDS 14, PUP 11, UDU 7, Al-Tajdid 3, PSL 2
Judicial branch: Court of Cassation or Cour de Cassation
Political parties and leaders: Al-Tajdid Movement [Ali HALOUANI]; 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 Socialist Democrats or MDS [Ismail BOULAHYA]; Popular Unity Party or PUP [Mohamed BOUCHIHA]; Progressive Democratic Party [Nejib CHEBBI]; 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, AMF, AMU, AU, BSEC (observer), FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, LAS, MIGA, MONUC, NAM, OAPEC, OAS (observer), OIC, ONUB, OPCW, OSCE (partner), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMEE, UNOCI, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d' Affaires Tarek Azouz
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 William J. HUDSON
embassy: Zone Nord-Est des Berges du Lac Nord de Tunis, 2045 La Goulette, Tunisia
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: [216] 71 107-000
FAX: [216] 71 962-115
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, averaging 5% for the latter half of the last decade, slowed to a 15-year low of 1.9% in 2002 because of agricultural drought, slow investment, and lackluster tourism. Better rains in 2003, however, pushed GDP growth up to an estimated 6 percent, and tourism also recovered after the end of combat operations in Iraq. GDP growth remained at 6% in 2004. Tunisia has agreed to gradually remove barriers to trade with the European Union over the next decade. 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 for the future.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $68.23 billion (2003 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 5.1% (2003 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $6,900 (2003 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 13.9%
industry: 32.2%
services: 53.9% (2003 est.)
Investment (gross fixed): 24.2% of GDP (2003)
Population below poverty line: 7.6% (2001 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% (2003 est.)
Labor force: 3.461 million
note: shortage of skilled labor (2003 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: services 55%, industry 23%, agriculture 22% (1995 est.)
Unemployment rate: 14.3% (2003 est.)
Budget: revenues: $6.101 billion
expenditures: $6.855 billion, including capital expenditures of $1.6 billion (2003 est.)
Public debt: 59.5% of GDP (2003)
Agriculture - products: olives, olive oil, grain, dairy products, tomatoes, citrus fruit, beef, sugar beets, dates, almonds
Industries: petroleum, mining (particularly phosphate and iron ore), tourism, textiles, footwear, agribusiness, beverages
Industrial production growth rate: -0.1% (2003 est.)
Electricity - production: 10.48 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - consumption: 9.748 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports: 1 million kWh (2001)
Oil - production: 72,580 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption: 87,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports: NA (2001)
Oil - imports: NA (2001)
Oil - proved reserves: 417 million bbl (1 January 2002)
Natural gas - production: 2.25 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 3.83 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 1.58 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 77.16 billion cu m (1 January 2002)
Current account balance: $-738.6 million (2003)
Exports: $8.035 billion f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Exports - commodities: textiles, mechanical goods, phosphates and chemicals, agricultural products, hydrocarbons
Exports - partners: France 32.6%, Italy 21.9%, Germany 10.7%, Spain 4.7%, Libya 4.4% (2003)
Imports: $10.3 billion f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Imports - commodities: textiles, machinery and equipment, hydrocarbons, chemicals, food
Imports - partners: France 26.1%, Italy 19.8%, Germany 8.9%, Spain 5.2% (2003)
Reserves of foreign exchange & gold: $2.949 billion (2003)
Debt - external: $14.39 billion (2003 est.)
Economic aid - recipient: $378 million (2001)
Currency: Tunisian dinar (TND)
Currency code: TND
Exchange rates: Tunisian dinars per US dollar - 1.2885 (2003), 1.4217 (2002), 1.4387 (2001), 1.3707 (2000), 1.1862 (1999)
Fiscal year: calendar year
 
Communications Tunisia
Telephones - main lines in use: 1,163,800 (2003)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 1,899,900 (2003)
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: 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; 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 hosts: 281 (2004)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 1 (2000)
Internet users: 630,000 (2003)
 
Transportation Tunisia
Railways: total: 2,152 km
standard gauge: 468 km 1.435-m gauge
dual gauge: 10 km 1.435-m and 1.000-m gauges (three rails) (2003)
narrow gauge: 1,674 km 1.000-m gauge (65 km electrified)
Highways: total: 18,997 km
paved: 12,310 km (including 142 km of expressways)
unpaved: 6,687 km (2000)
Pipelines: gas 3,059 km; oil 1,203 km; refined products 345 km (2004)
Ports and harbors: Bizerte, Gabes, La Goulette, Sfax, Sousse, Tunis, Zarzis
Merchant marine: total: 11 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 124,733 GRT/122,664 DWT
registered in other countries: 2 (2004 est.)
by type: bulk 2, cargo 1, chemical tanker 4, liquefied gas 1, short-sea/passenger 3
Airports: 30 (2003 est.)
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 (2004 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 16
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 7
under 914 m: 7 (2004 est.)
 
Military Tunisia
Military branches: Army, Navy, Air Force
Military manpower - military age and obligation: 20 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - 12 months; 18 years of age for voluntary military service (2004)
Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 2,918,524 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service: males age 15-49: 1,655,910 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually: males: 106,565 (2004 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure: $356 million (FY99)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 1.5% (FY99)
This page was last updated on 1 January 2003



This is a snapshot of the CIA World Fact Book as it existed on 26 March 2005