Africa :: Tunisia
  • 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 convincing 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. Street protests that began in Tunis in December 2010 over high unemployment, corruption, widespread poverty, and high food prices escalated in January 2011, culminating in rioting that led to hundreds of deaths. On 14 January 2011, the same day BEN ALI dismissed the government, he fled the country, and by late January 2011, a "national unity government" was formed. Elections for the new Constituent Assembly were held in late October 2011, and in December, it elected human rights activist Moncef MARZOUKI as interim president. The Assembly began drafting a new constitution in February 2012 and, after several iterations and a months-long political crisis that stalled the transition, ratified the document in January 2014. Parliamentary and presidential elections for a permanent government were held at the end of 2014. Beji CAID ESSEBSI was elected as the first president under the country's new constitution. Following ESSEBSI’s death in office in July 2019, Tunisia moved its scheduled presidential election forward two months and after two rounds of voting, Kais SAIED was sworn in as president in October 2019. Tunisia also held legislative elections on schedule in October 2019. SAIED's term, as well as that of Tunisia's 217-member parliament, expires in 2024.
  • 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
    land: 155,360 sq km
    water: 8,250 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 94
    Area - comparative:
    slightly larger than Georgia
    Area comparison map: Area comparison map
    Land boundaries:
    total: 1,495 km
    border countries (2): Algeria 1034 km, Libya 461 km
    Coastline:
    1,148 km
    Maritime claims:
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    exclusive economic zone: 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:
    mean elevation: 246 m
    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:
    agricultural land: 64.8% (2011 est.)
    arable land: 18.3% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 15.4% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 31.1% (2011 est.)
    forest: 6.6% (2011 est.)
    other: 28.6% (2011 est.)
    Irrigated land:
    4,590 sq km (2012)
    Population distribution:
    the overwhelming majority of the population is located in the northern half of the country; the south remains largely underpopulated
    Natural hazards:
    flooding; earthquakes; droughts
    Environment - current issues:
    toxic and hazardous waste disposal is ineffective and poses health risks; water pollution from raw sewage; limited natural freshwater 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 and Society :: Tunisia
  • Population:
    11,721,177 (July 2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 79
    Nationality:
    noun: Tunisian(s)
    adjective: Tunisian
    Ethnic groups:
    Arab 98%, European 1%, Jewish and other 1%
    Languages:
    Arabic (official, one of the languages of commerce), French (commerce), Berber (Tamazight)

    note: despite having no official status, French plays a major role in the country and is spoken by about two thirds of the population

    Religions:
    Muslim (official; Sunni) 99.1%, other (includes Christian, Jewish, Shia Muslim, and Baha'i) 1%
    MENA religious affiliation: PDF
    Demographic profile:

    The Tunisian Government took steps in the 1960s to decrease population growth and gender inequality in order to improve socioeconomic development. Through its introduction of a national family planning program (the first in Africa) and by raising the legal age of marriage, Tunisia rapidly reduced its total fertility rate from about 7 children per woman in 1960 to 2 today. Unlike many of its North African and Middle Eastern neighbors, Tunisia will soon be shifting from being a youth-bulge country to having a transitional age structure, characterized by lower fertility and mortality rates, a slower population growth rate, a rising median age, and a longer average life expectancy.

    Currently, the sizable young working-age population is straining Tunisia’s labor market and education and health care systems. Persistent high unemployment among Tunisia’s growing workforce, particularly its increasing number of university graduates and women, was a key factor in the uprisings that led to the overthrow of the BEN ALI regime in 2011. In the near term, Tunisia’s large number of jobless young, working-age adults; deficiencies in primary and secondary education; and the ongoing lack of job creation and skills mismatches could contribute to future unrest. In the longer term, a sustained low fertility rate will shrink future youth cohorts and alleviate demographic pressure on Tunisia’s labor market, but employment and education hurdles will still need to be addressed.

    Tunisia has a history of labor emigration. In the 1960s, workers migrated to European countries to escape poor economic conditions and to fill Europe’s need for low-skilled labor in construction and manufacturing. The Tunisian Government signed bilateral labor agreements with France, Germany, Belgium, Hungary, and the Netherlands, with the expectation that Tunisian workers would eventually return home. At the same time, growing numbers of Tunisians headed to Libya, often illegally, to work in the expanding oil industry. In the mid-1970s, with European countries beginning to restrict immigration and Tunisian-Libyan tensions brewing, Tunisian economic migrants turned toward the Gulf countries. After mass expulsions from Libya in 1983, Tunisian migrants increasingly sought family reunification in Europe or moved illegally to southern Europe, while Tunisia itself developed into a transit point for Sub-Saharan migrants heading to Europe.

    Following the ousting of BEN ALI in 2011, the illegal migration of unemployed Tunisian youths to Italy and onward to France soared into the tens of thousands. Thousands more Tunisian and foreign workers escaping civil war in Libya flooded into Tunisia and joined the exodus. A readmission agreement signed by Italy and Tunisia in April 2011 helped stem the outflow, leaving Tunisia and international organizations to repatriate, resettle, or accommodate some 1 million Libyans and third-country nationals.

    Age structure:
    0-14 years: 25.28% (male 1,529,834/female 1,433,357)
    15-24 years: 12.9% (male 766,331/female 745,888)
    25-54 years: 42.85% (male 2,445,751/female 2,576,335)
    55-64 years: 10.12% (male 587,481/female 598,140)
    65 years and over: 8.86% (male 491,602/female 546,458) (2020 est.)
    population pyramid:  population pyramid
    Dependency ratios:
    total dependency ratio: 49.6
    youth dependency ratio: 36.3
    elderly dependency ratio: 13.3
    potential support ratio: 7.5 (2020 est.)
    Median age:
    total: 32.7 years
    male: 32 years
    female: 33.3 years (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 107
    Population growth rate:
    0.85% (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 124
    Birth rate:
    15.9 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 112
    Death rate:
    6.4 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 146
    Net migration rate:
    -1.4 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 154
    Population distribution:
    the overwhelming majority of the population is located in the northern half of the country; the south remains largely underpopulated
    Urbanization:
    urban population: 69.6% of total population (2020)
    rate of urbanization: 1.53% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
    Major urban areas - population:
    2.365 million TUNIS (capital) (2020)
    Sex ratio:
    at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.9 male(s)/female
    total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2020 est.)
    Maternal mortality rate:
    43 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 99
    Infant mortality rate:
    total: 11 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 12 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 9.8 deaths/1,000 live births (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 124
    Life expectancy at birth:
    total population: 76.3 years
    male: 74.6 years
    female: 78.1 years (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 100
    Total fertility rate:
    2.06 children born/woman (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 105
    Contraceptive prevalence rate:
    62.5% (2011/12)
    Drinking water source:
    improved: urban: 100% of population
    rural: 94.3% of population
    total: 98.2% of population
    unimproved: urban: 0% of population
    rural: 5.7% of population
    total: 1.8% of population (2017 est.)
    Current Health Expenditure:
    7.2% (2017)
    Physicians density:
    1.3 physicians/1,000 population (2017)
    Hospital bed density:
    2.2 beds/1,000 population (2017)
    Sanitation facility access:
    improved: urban: 97.4% of population (2015 est.)
    rural: 79.8% of population (2015 est.)
    total: 91.6% of population (2015 est.)
    unimproved: urban: 2.6% of population (2015 est.)
    rural: 20.2% of population (2015 est.)
    total: 8.4% of population (2015 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
    <.1% (2018 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
    2,800 (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 133
    HIV/AIDS - deaths:
    <100 (2018 est.)
    Obesity - adult prevalence rate:
    26.9% (2016)
    country comparison to the world: 40
    Children under the age of 5 years underweight:
    2.8% (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 106
    Education expenditures:
    6.6% of GDP (2015)
    country comparison to the world: 19
    Literacy:
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 81.8%
    male: 89.6%
    female: 74.2% (2015)
    School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
    total: 15 years
    male: 14 years NA
    female: 16 years NA (2016)
    Unemployment, youth ages 15-24:
    total: 35%
    male: 34%
    female: 37.4% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 22
  • Government :: Tunisia
  • Country name:
    conventional long form: Republic of Tunisia
    conventional short form: Tunisia
    local long form: Al Jumhuriyah at Tunisiyah
    local short form: Tunis
    etymology: the country name derives from the capital city of Tunis
    Government type:
    parliamentary 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)
    etymology: three possibilities exist for the derivation of the name; originally a Berber settlement (earliest reference 4th century B.C.), the strategic site fell to the Carthaginians (Phoenicians) and the city could be named after the Punic goddess Tanit, since many ancient cities were named after patron deities; alternatively, the Berber root word "ens," which means "to lie down" or "to pass the night," may indicate that the site was originally a camp or rest stop; finally, the name may be the same as the city of Tynes, mentioned in the writings of some ancient authors
    Administrative divisions:
    24 governorates (wilayat, singular - wilayah); 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), L'Ariana (Aryanah), Mahdia (Al Mahdiyah), Manouba (Manubah), Medenine (Madanin), Monastir (Al Munastir), Nabeul (Nabul), Sfax (Safaqis), Sidi Bouzid (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); Revolution and Youth Day, 14 January (2011)
    Constitution:
    history: several previous; latest approved by Constituent Assembly 26 January 2014, signed by the president, prime minister, and Constituent Assembly speaker 27 January 2014
    amendments: proposed by the president of the republic or by one third of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People membership; following review by the Constitutional Court, approval to proceed requires an absolute majority vote by the Assembly and final passage requires a two-thirds majority vote by the Assembly; the president can opt to submit an amendment to a referendum, which requires an absolute majority of votes cast for passage
    International law organization participation:
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    Citizenship:
    citizenship by birth: no
    citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Tunisia
    dual citizenship recognized: yes
    residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years
    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 Kais SAIED (elected 13 October, sworn in 23 October 2019)
    head of government: Prime Minister Elyes FAKHFAKH (since 27 February 2020); resigned on 15 July 2020
    cabinet: selected by the prime minister and approved by the Assembly of the Representatives of the People
    elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); last held on 15 September 2019 with a runoff on 13 October 2019 (next to be held in 2024); following legislative elections, the prime minister is selected by the winning party or winning coalition and appointed by the president
    election results:

    first round - Kais SAIED (independent) 18.4%, Nabil KAROUI (Heart of Tunisia) 15.6%, Abdelfattah MOUROU (Nahda Movement) 12.9%, Abdelkrim ZBIDI(independent) 10.7%,Youssef CHAHED (Long Live Tunisia) 7.4%, Safi SAID (independent) 7.1%, Lotfi MRAIHI (Republican People's Union) 6.6%, other 21.3%; runoff - Kais SAIED elected president; Kais SAIED 72.7%, Nabil KAROUI 27.3%

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Legislative branch:
    description: unicameral Assembly of the Representatives of the People or Majlis Nuwwab ash-Sha'b (Assemblee des representants du peuple) (217 seats; 199 members directly elected in Tunisian multi-seat constituencies and 18 members in multi-seat constituencies abroad by party-list proportional representation vote; members serve 5-year terms)
    elections: initial election held on 6 October 2019 (next to be held in October 2024)
    election results: percent of vote by party - Ennahdha 19.6%, Heart of Tunisia 14.6%, Free Destourian Party 6.6%, Democratic Current 6.4%, Dignity Coalition 5.9%, People's Movement 4.5%, TahyaTounes 4.1%, other 35.4%, independent 2.9%;seats by party -  Ennahdha 52, Heart of Tunisia 38, Free Destourian Party 17, Democratic Current 22, Dignity Coalition 21, People's Movement 16, Tahya Tounes 14, other 25, independent 12; composition - men 139, women 78, percent of women 35.9%
    Judicial branch:
    highest courts: Court of Cassation (consists of the first president, chamber presidents, and magistrates and organized into 27 civil and 11 criminal chambers)
    judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges nominated by the Supreme Judicial Council, an independent 4-part body consisting mainly of elected judges and the remainder legal specialists; judge tenure based on terms of appointment; Constitutional Court NA
    subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal; administrative courts; Court of Audit; Housing Court; courts of first instance; lower district courts; military courts

    note: the new Tunisian constitution of January 2014 called for the creation of a constitutional court by the end of 2015, but as of November 2018, the court had not been appointed; the court to consist of 12 members - 4 each to be appointed by the president, the Supreme Judicial Council (an independent 4-part body consisting mainly of elected judges and the remainder are legal specialists), and the Chamber of the People's Deputies (parliament); members are to serve 9-year terms with one-third of the membership renewed every 3 years

    Political parties and leaders:
    Afek Tounes [Yassine BRAHIM]Al Badil Al-Tounisi (The Tunisian Alternative) [Mehdi JOMAA]
    Call for Tunisia Party (Nidaa Tounes) [Hafedh CAID ESSEBSI]
    Congress for the Republic Party or CPR [Imed DAIMI]
    Current of Love [Hachemi HAMDI] (formerly the Popular Petition party)
    Democratic Alliance Party [Mohamed HAMDI]
    Democratic Current [Mohamed ABBOU]
    Democratic Patriots' Unified Party [Zied LAKHDHAR]
    Dignity Coalition [Seifeddine MAKHIOUF]
    Free Destourian Party [Abir MOUSSI]
    Free Patriotic Union (Union patriotique libre) or UPL  [Slim RIAHI]
    Green Tunisia Party [Abdelkader ZITOUNI]
    Heart of Tunisia (Qalb Tounes)
    Irada Movement
    Long Live Tunisia (Tahya Tounes) [Youssef CHAHED]
    Machrou Tounes (Tunisia Project) [Mohsen MARZOUK]
    Movement of Socialist Democrats or MDS [Ahmed KHASKHOUSSI]
    Ennahda Movement (The Renaissance) [Rachid GHANNOUCHI]
    National Destourian Initiative or El Moubadra [Kamel MORJANE]
    Party of the Democratic Arab Vanguard [Ahmed JEDDICK, Kheireddine SOUABNI]
    People's Movement [Zouheir MAGHZAOUI]
    Popular Front (coalition includes Democratic Patriots' Unified Party, Workers' Party, Green Tunisia, Tunisian Ba'ath Movement, Party of the Democratic Arab Vanguard)
    Republican Party [Maya JRIBI]
    Tunisian Ba'ath Movement [OMAR Othman BELHADJ]
    Tunisia First (Tunis Awlan) [Ridha BELHAJ]
    Workers' Party [Hamma HAMMAMI]
    International organization participation:
    ABEDA, AfDB, AFESD, AMF, AMU, AU, BSEC (observer), CAEU, CD, EBRD, FAO, G-11, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAS, MIGA, MONUSCO, NAM, OAS (observer), OIC, OIF, OPCW, OSCE (partner), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNOCI, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
    Diplomatic representation in the US:
    Ambassador Faycal GOUIA (since 18 May 2015)
    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 Donald A. BLOME (since 21 February 2019)
    telephone: [216] 71 107-000
    embassy: Les Berges du Lac, 1053 Tunis
    mailing address: Zone Nord-Est des Berges du Lac Nord de Tunis 1053
    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; 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 symbol(s):
    encircled red crescent moon and five-pointed star; national colors: red, white
    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's economy – structurally designed to favor vested interests – faced an array of challenges exposed by the 2008 global financial crisis that helped precipitate the 2011 Arab Spring revolution. After the revolution and a series of terrorist attacks, including on the country’s tourism sector, barriers to economic inclusion continued to add to slow economic growth and high unemployment.

    Following an ill-fated experiment with socialist economic policies in the 1960s, Tunisia focused on bolstering exports, foreign investment, and tourism, all of which have become central to the country's economy. Key exports now include textiles and apparel, food products, petroleum products, chemicals, and phosphates, with about 80% of exports bound for Tunisia's main economic partner, the EU. Tunisia's strategy, coupled with investments in education and infrastructure, fueled decades of 4-5% annual GDP growth and improved living standards. Former President Zine el Abidine BEN ALI (1987-2011) continued these policies, but as his reign wore on cronyism and corruption stymied economic performance, unemployment rose, and the informal economy grew. Tunisia’s economy became less and less inclusive. These grievances contributed to the January 2011 overthrow of BEN ALI, further depressing Tunisia's economy as tourism and investment declined sharply.

    Tunisia’s government remains under pressure to boost economic growth quickly to mitigate chronic socio-economic challenges, especially high levels of youth unemployment, which has persisted since the 2011 revolution. Successive terrorist attacks against the tourism sector and worker strikes in the phosphate sector, which combined account for nearly 15% of GDP, slowed growth from 2015 to 2017. Tunis is seeking increased foreign investment and working with the IMF through an Extended Fund Facility agreement to fix fiscal deficiencies.

    GDP (purchasing power parity):
    $137.7 billion (2017 est.)
    $135 billion (2016 est.)
    $133.5 billion (2015 est.)

    note: data are in 2017 dollars

    country comparison to the world: 78
    GDP (official exchange rate):
    $39.96 billion (2017 est.)
    GDP - real growth rate:
    2% (2017 est.)
    1.1% (2016 est.)
    1.2% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 155
    GDP - per capita (PPP):
    $11,900 (2017 est.)
    $11,800 (2016 est.)
    $11,800 (2015 est.)

    note: data are in 2017 dollars

    country comparison to the world: 131
    Gross national saving:
    12% of GDP (2017 est.)
    13.4% of GDP (2016 est.)
    12.5% of GDP (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 152
    GDP - composition, by end use:
    household consumption: 71.7% (2017 est.)
    government consumption: 20.8% (2017 est.)
    investment in fixed capital: 19.4% (2017 est.)
    investment in inventories: 0% (2017 est.)
    exports of goods and services: 43.2% (2017 est.)
    imports of goods and services: -55.2% (2017 est.)
    GDP - composition, by sector of origin:
    agriculture: 10.1% (2017 est.)
    industry: 26.2% (2017 est.)
    services: 63.8% (2017 est.)
    Agriculture - products:
    olives, olive oil, grain, tomatoes, citrus fruit, sugar beets, dates, almonds; beef, dairy products
    Industries:
    petroleum, mining (particularly phosphate, iron ore), tourism, textiles, footwear, agribusiness, beverages
    Industrial production growth rate:
    0.5% (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 166
    Labor force:
    4.054 million (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 92
    Labor force - by occupation:
    agriculture: 14.8%
    industry: 33.2%
    services: 51.7% (2014 est.)
    Unemployment rate:
    15.5% (2017 est.)
    15.5% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 174
    Population below poverty line:
    15.5% (2010 est.)
    Household income or consumption by percentage share:
    lowest 10%: 2.6%
    highest 10%: 27% (2010 est.)
    Budget:
    revenues: 9.876 billion (2017 est.)
    expenditures: 12.21 billion (2017 est.)
    Taxes and other revenues:
    24.7% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 120
    Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):
    -5.8% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 180
    Public debt:
    70.3% of GDP (2017 est.)
    62.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 51
    Fiscal year:
    calendar year
    Inflation rate (consumer prices):
    5.3% (2017 est.)
    3.7% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 176
    Current account balance:
    -$4.191 billion (2017 est.)
    -$3.694 billion (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 179
    Exports:
    $13.82 billion (2017 est.)
    $13.57 billion (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 78
    Exports - partners:
    France 32.1%, Italy 17.3%, Germany 12.4% (2017)
    Exports - commodities:
    clothing, semi-finished goods and textiles, agricultural products, mechanical goods, phosphates and chemicals, hydrocarbons, electrical equipment
    Imports:
    $19.09 billion (2017 est.)
    $18.37 billion (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 79
    Imports - commodities:
    textiles, machinery and equipment, hydrocarbons, chemicals, foodstuffs
    Imports - partners:
    Italy 15.8%, France 15.1%, China 9.2%, Germany 8.1%, Turkey 4.8%, Algeria 4.7%, Spain 4.5% (2017)
    Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
    $5.594 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
    $5.941 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 93
    Debt - external:
    $30.19 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
    $28.95 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 79
    Exchange rates:
    Tunisian dinars (TND) per US dollar -
    2.48 (2017 est.)
    2.148 (2016 est.)
    2.148 (2015 est.)
    1.9617 (2014 est.)
    1.6976 (2013 est.)
  • Energy :: Tunisia
  • Electricity access:
    electrification - total population: 100% (2016)
    Electricity - production:
    18.44 billion kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 78
    Electricity - consumption:
    15.27 billion kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 79
    Electricity - exports:
    500 million kWh (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 68
    Electricity - imports:
    134 million kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 96
    Electricity - installed generating capacity:
    5.768 million kW (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 77
    Electricity - from fossil fuels:
    94% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 49
    Electricity - from nuclear fuels:
    0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 198
    Electricity - from hydroelectric plants:
    1% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 151
    Electricity - from other renewable sources:
    5% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 109
    Crude oil - production:
    39,000 bbl/day (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 59
    Crude oil - exports:
    39,980 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 42
    Crude oil - imports:
    17,580 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 66
    Crude oil - proved reserves:
    425 million bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 48
    Refined petroleum products - production:
    27,770 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 85
    Refined petroleum products - consumption:
    102,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 79
    Refined petroleum products - exports:
    13,660 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 75
    Refined petroleum products - imports:
    85,340 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 58
    Natural gas - production:
    1.274 billion cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 64
    Natural gas - consumption:
    5.125 billion cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 59
    Natural gas - exports:
    0 cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 202
    Natural gas - imports:
    3.851 billion cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 41
    Natural gas - proved reserves:
    65.13 billion cu m (1 January 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 58
    Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy:
    23.42 million Mt (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 82
  • Communications :: Tunisia
  • Telephones - fixed lines:
    total subscriptions: 1,302,015
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 11 (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 69
    Telephones - mobile cellular:
    total subscriptions: 14,769,594
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 128 (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 68
    Telecommunication systems:
    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; penetration rates for mobile and Internet services are among the highest in the region; 3 MNOs (mobile network operator); government Internet censorship abolished in 2013; telecom invests in LTE network and fiber infrastructure with FttP (fiber to the premises) services; 5G license expected to be launched soon; auction of spectrum in the 800MHz band loT (location of Things) and mobile services; use of Chinese company Huawei to develop LTE network (2020)
    domestic: in an effort to jumpstart expansion of the fixed-line network, the government awarded a concession to build and operate a VSAT network with international connectivity; rural areas are served by wireless local loops; competition between several mobile-cellular service providers has resulted in lower activation and usage charges and a strong surge in subscribership; fixed-line is 11 per 100 and mobile-cellular teledensity has reached about 128 telephones per 100 persons (2018)
    international: country code - 216; landing points for the SEA-ME-WE-4, Didon, HANNIBAL System and Trapani-Kelibia submarine cable systems that provides links to Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Southeast 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 (2020)
    the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite - has moderated
    Broadcast media:
    1 state-owned TV station with multiple transmission sites; 5 private TV stations broadcast locally; cable TV service is available; state-owned radio network with 2 stations (in Lome and Kara); several dozen private radio stations and a few community radio stations; transmissions of multiple international broadcasters available (2019)
    Internet country code:
    .tn
    Internet users:
    total: 5,665,242
    percent of population: 50.9% (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 70
    Broadband - fixed subscriptions:
    total: 1,014,395
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 9 (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 69
  • Military and Security :: Tunisia
  • Military expenditures:
    2.6% of GDP (2019)
    2.09% of GDP (2018)
    2.13% of GDP (2017)
    2.35% of GDP (2016)
    2.27% of GDP (2015)
    country comparison to the world: 35
    Military and security forces:
    Tunisian Armed Forces (Forces Armees Tunisiens, FAT): Tunisian Army (includes Tunisian Air Defense Force), Tunisian Navy, Republic of Tunisia Air Force; Ministry of Interior: Tunisian National Guard (2019)
    Military service age and obligation:
    20-23 years of age for compulsory service, 1-year service obligation; 18-23 years of age for voluntary service (2019)
    Military and security service personnel strengths:
    the Tunisian Armed Forces (FAT) have approximately 35,000 active personnel (27,000 Army; 4,800 Navy; 3,500-4,000 Air Force); 12,000 National Guard (2019 est.)
    Military equipment inventories and acquisitions:
    the Tunisian military's inventory includes mostly older or secondhand US and European equipment; since 2010, the Netherlands and US are the leading suppliers of arms to Tunisia (2019 est.)
  • Transportation :: Tunisia
  • National air transport system:
    number of registered air carriers: 3 (2015)
    inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 41 (2015)
    annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 3,496,190 (2015)
    annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 10,354,241 mt-km (2015)
    Civil aircraft registration country code prefix:
    TS (2016)
    Airports:
    29 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 119
    Airports - with paved runways:
    total: 15 (2013)
    over 3,047 m: 4 (2013)
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 6 (2013)
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 2 (2013)
    914 to 1,523 m: 3 (2013)
    Airports - with unpaved runways:
    total: 14 (2013)
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)
    914 to 1,523 m: 5 (2013)
    under 914 m: 8 (2013)
    Pipelines:
    68 km condensate, 3111 km gas, 1381 km oil, 453 km refined products (2013)
    Railways:
    total: 2,173 km (1,991 in use) (2014)
    standard gauge: 471 km 1.435-m gauge (2014)
    narrow gauge: 1,694 km 1.000-m gauge (65 km electrified) (2014)
    dual gauge: 8 km 1.435-1.000-m gauge (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 70
    Roadways:
    paved: 20,000 km (2015)
    Merchant marine:
    total: 67
    by type: general cargo 9, oil tanker 1, other 57 (2019)
    country comparison to the world: 105
    Ports and terminals:
    major seaport(s): Bizerte, Gabes, Rades, Sfax, Skhira
  • Terrorism :: Tunisia
  • Terrorist groups - home based:
    al-Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM): aim(s): overthrow various African regimes and replace them with one ruled by Sharia; establish a regional Islamic caliphate across all of North and West Africa
    area(s) of operation: leadership headquartered in Algeria; operates in Tunisia and Libya
    note: al-Qa'ida's affiliate in North Africa; Tunisia-based branch known as the Uqbah bin Nafi Battalion; Mali-based cadre merged with allies to form JNIM in March 2017, which pledged allegiance to AQIM and al-Qa'ida (2018)
    Ansar al-Sharia in Tunisia (AAS-T): aim(s): expand its influence in Tunisia and, ultimately, replace the Tunisian Government with Sharia
    area(s) of operation: headquartered in Tunisia; members instigate riots and violent demonstrations and engage in attacks, targeting Tunisian military and security personnel, Tunisian politicians, religious sites, and Western interests (2018)
    Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS) network in Tunisia (to include pro-ISIS cells and designated Jund al-Khilafah (JAK-T)): aim(s): replace the Tunisian Government with an Islamic state and implement ISIS's strict interpretation of Sharia
    area(s) of operation: Tunisian ISIS fighters stage attacks just across the border in Libya against government facilities and personnel and foreign tourists in Tunisia (2018)
  • Transnational Issues :: Tunisia
  • Disputes - international:

    none

    Trafficking in persons:
    current situation: Tunisia is a source, destination, and possible transit country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; Tunisia’s increased number of street children, rural children working to support their families, and migrants who have fled unrest in neighboring countries are vulnerable to human trafficking; organized gangs force street children to serve as thieves, beggars, and drug transporters; Tunisian women have been forced into prostitution domestically and elsewhere in the region under false promises of legitimate work; East and West African women may be subjected to forced labor as domestic workers
    tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List – Tunisia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; in 2014, Tunisia was granted a waiver from an otherwise required downgrade to Tier 3 because its government has a written plan that, if implemented would constitute making significant efforts to bring itself into compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; in early 2015, the government drafted a national anti-trafficking action plan outlining proposals to raise awareness and enact draft anti-trafficking legislation; authorities did not provide data on the prosecution and conviction of offenders but reportedly identified 24 victims, as opposed to none in 2013, and operated facilities specifically dedicated to trafficking victims, regardless of nationality and gender; the government did not fully implement its national victim referral mechanism; some unidentified victims were not protected from punishment for unlawful acts directly resulting from being trafficked (2015)