Africa :: Tunisia

Introduction ::Tunisia

    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. 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 released a second working draft in December 2012. The interim government has proposed presidential and parliamentary elections be held in 2013.

Geography ::Tunisia

People and Society ::Tunisia

Government ::Tunisia

    conventional long form: Tunisian Republic
    conventional short form: Tunisia
    local long form: Al Jumhuriyah at Tunisiyah
    local short form: Tunis
    name: Tunis
    geographic coordinates: 36 48 N, 10 11 E
    time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
    24 governorates (wilayat, singular - wilayah); 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)
    20 March 1956 (from France)
    Independence Day, 20 March (1956); Revolution and Youth Day, 14 January (2011)
    note - the Constituent Assembly formed in October 2011 and charged with writing a new constitution completed a draft in April 2013
    mixed legal system of civil law, based on the French civil code, and Islamic law; some judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court in joint session
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
    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
    note: Tunisia's interim government was appointed in December 2011 and will remain in power pending drafting of a new constitution and holding of general elections in 2013
    chief of state: President Moncef MARZOUKI (since 12 December 2011)
    head of government: Prime Minister Ali LAAREYDH (since 27 February 2013)
    cabinet: selected by the prime minister and approved by the Constituent Assembly
    (For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
    elections: president elected by Constituent Assembly; election last held on 12 December 2011(next to be held in 2013); prime minister appointed by the president
    election results: President MARZOUKI elected by Constituent Assembly with 153 of 156 votes
    unicameral Constituent Assembly (217 seats); note - the legislative role of the Constituent Assembly remains unclear
    elections: initial election of 217 Constituent Assembly members held on 23 October 2011 (next to be held on 23 June 2013)
    election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - al-Nahda 89, CPR 29, Popular Petition 26, FDTL 20, PDP 16, PDM 5, The Initiative 5, Afek Tounes 4, PCOT 3, other minor parties each with fewer than three seats 20
    highest court(s): Court of Cassation or Cour de Cassation (organized into civil and criminal chambers and consists of NA judges)
    note - drafting of a new constitution was begun in February 2012
    judge selection and term of office: judges nominated by the Higher Magistracy Council (also called the Superior Council of the Judiciary), a 7-member body of judges and prosecutors; judges appointed by presidential decree; judge tenure NA
    subordinate courts: Administrative Court; Courts of Appeal; Housing Court; courts of first instance; lower district courts; military courts
    Afek Tounes [Emna MINF]
    Alliance for Tunisia (a coalition of Tunisia's Call [Beji Caid ESSEBSI], Republican Party [Maya JRIBI and Najib CHBBI],Democratic Path [Ahmed BRAHIM])
    al-Nahda (The Renaissance) [Rachid GHANNOUCHI]
    Congress Party for the Republic or CPR [Moncef MARZOUKI]
    Democratic Forum for Labor and Liberties or FDTL (Ettakatol) [Mustapha Ben JAAFAR]
    Democratic Modernist Pole or PDM (a coalition)
    Democratic Socialist Movement or MDS
    Et-Tajdid Movement [Ahmed IBRAHIM]
    Green Party for Progress or PVP [Mongi KHAMASSI]
    Liberal Social Party or PSL [Mondher THABET]
    Movement of Socialist Democrats or MDS [Ismail BOULAHYA]
    Popular Petition (Aridha Chaabia) [Hachemi HAMDI]
    Popular Unity Party or PUP [Mohamed BOUCHIHA]
    Progressive Democratic Party or PDP [Maya JERIBI]
    The Initiative [Kamel MORJANE] (formerly the Constitutional Democratic Rally or RCD)
    Tunisian Workers' Communist Party or PCOT [Hamma HAMMAMI]
    Unionist Democratic Union or UDU [Ahmed INOUBLI]
    18 October Group [collective leadership]
    Tunisian League for Human Rights or LTDH [Mokhtar TRIFI]
    chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Kais DARRAGI
    chancery: 1515 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20005
    telephone: [1] (202) 862-1850
    FAX: [1] (202) 862-1858
    chief of mission: Ambassador Jake WALLES
    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] 71 963-263
    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
    encircled red star and crescent
    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

    Tunisia's diverse, market-oriented economy has long been cited as a success story in Africa and the Middle East, but it faces an array of challenges during the country's ongoing political transition. Following an ill-fated experiment with socialist economic policies in the 1960s, Tunisia embarked on a successful strategy 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 European Union. Tunisia''s liberal strategy, coupled with investments in education and infrastructure, fueled decades of 4-5% annual GDP growth and improving living standards. Former President (1987-2011) Zine el Abidine BEN ALI continued these policies, but as his reign wore on cronyism and corruption stymied economic performance and unemployment rose among the country''s growing ranks of university graduates. These grievances contributed to the January 2011 overthrow of BEN ALI, sending Tunisia''s economy into a tailspin as tourism and investment declined sharply. As the economy recovers, Tunisia''s government faces challenges reassuring businesses and investors, bringing budget and current account deficits under control, shoring up the country''s financial system, bringing down high unemployment, and reducing economic disparities between the more developed coastal region and the impoverished interior.
    $107.1 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 70
    $103.4 billion (2011 est.)
    $105.4 billion (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    $45.61 billion (2012 est.)
    3.6% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 95
    -1.9% (2011 est.)
    3.1% (2010 est.)
    $9,900 (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 120
    $9,700 (2011 est.)
    $10,000 (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    22.3% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 61
    23.2% of GDP (2011 est.)
    26.3% of GDP (2010 est.)
    household consumption: 66.6%
    government consumption: 19%
    investment in fixed capital: 22.3%
    investment in inventories: 0%
    exports of goods and services: 49.4%
    imports of goods and services: -57.3%
    (2012 est.)
    agriculture: 8.9%
    industry: 29.6%
    services: 61.5% (2012 est.)
    olives, olive oil, grain, tomatoes, citrus fruit, sugar beets, dates, almonds; beef, dairy products
    petroleum, mining (particularly phosphate and iron ore), tourism, textiles, footwear, agribusiness, beverages
    -0.8% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 143
    3.914 million (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 92
    agriculture: 18.3%
    industry: 31.9%
    services: 49.8% (2009 est.)
    17.4% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 154
    19% (2011 est.)
    3.8% (2005 est.)
    lowest 10%: 2.3%
    highest 10%: 31.5% (2000)
    40 (2005 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 61
    41.7 (1995 est.)
    revenues: $11.88 billion
    expenditures: $13.08 billion (2012 est.)
    26.1% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 115
    -2.6% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 101
    46.8% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 72
    44.6% of GDP (2011 est.)
    calendar year
    5.6% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 155
    3.5% (2011 est.)
    5.75% (31 December 2010 est.)
    7.31% (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 132
    6.76% (31 December 2011 est.)
    $13.44 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 72
    $13.11 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $31.06 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 75
    $29.5 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $36.09 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 69
    $34.19 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $9.662 billion (31 December 2011)
    country comparison to the world: 72
    $10.68 billion (31 December 2010)
    $9.12 billion (31 December 2009)
    -$3.57 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 152
    -$3.331 billion (2011 est.)
    $17.02 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 76
    $17.88 billion (2011 est.)
    clothing, semi-finished goods and textiles, agricultural products, mechanical goods, phosphates and chemicals, hydrocarbons, electrical equipment
    France 26.3%, Italy 16%, Germany 9.4%, Libya 7.9%, US 4.3% (2012)
    $23.32 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 71
    $22.62 billion (2011 est.)
    textiles, machinery and equipment, hydrocarbons, chemicals, foodstuffs
    France 20.2%, Italy 16.9%, Germany 7.5%, China 6.1%, Spain 5.4% (2012)
    $8.36 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 77
    $7.457 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $25.4 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 78
    $22.34 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $33.01 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 58
    $31.84 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $285 million (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 83
    $285 million (31 December 2011 est.)
    Tunisian dinars (TND) per US dollar -
    1.5619 (2012 est.)
    1.4078 (2011 est.)
    1.4314 (2010 est.)
    1.3503 (2009)
    1.211 (2008)

Energy ::Tunisia

Communications ::Tunisia

    1.218 million (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 69
    12.388 million (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 63
    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
    domestic: in an effort to jumpstart expansion of the fixed-line network, the government has awarded a concession to build and operate a VSAT network with international connectivity; rural areas are served by wireless local loops; competition between the two mobile-cellular service providers has resulted in lower activation and usage charges and a strong surge in subscribership; a third mobile, fixed, and ISP operator was licensed in 2009 and began offering services in 2010; expansion of mobile-cellular services to include multimedia messaging and e-mail and Internet to mobile phone services also leading to a surge in subscribership; overall fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity has reached about 125 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 (2011)
    broadcast media is mainly government-controlled; the state-run Tunisian Radio and Television Establishment (ERTT) operates 2 national TV networks, several national radio networks, and a number of regional radio stations; 1 TV and 3 radio stations are privately owned and report domestic news stories directly from the official Tunisian news agency; the state retains control of broadcast facilities and transmitters through L'Office National de la Telediffusion; Tunisians also have access to Egyptian, pan-Arab, and European satellite TV channels (2007)
    576 (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 180
    3.5 million (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 60

Transportation ::Tunisia

    29 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 118
    total: 15
    over 3,047 m: 4
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 6
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
    914 to 1,523 m: 3 (2013)
    total: 14
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
    914 to 1,523 m: 5
    under 914 m:
    8 (2013)
    condensate 68 km; gas 3,111 km; oil 1,381 km; refined products 453 km (2013)
    total: 2,165 km
    country comparison to the world: 68
    standard gauge: 471 km 1.435-m gauge
    narrow gauge: 1,694 km 1.000-m gauge (65 km electrified) (2008)
    total: 19,232 km
    country comparison to the world: 110
    paved: 12,655 km (includes 262 km of expressways)
    unpaved: 6,577 km (2006)
    total: 9
    country comparison to the world: 116
    by type: bulk carrier 1, cargo 2, passenger/cargo 4, roll on/roll off 2 (2010)
    Bizerte, Gabes, Rades, Sfax, Skhira

Military ::Tunisia

Transnational Issues ::Tunisia

    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, children working to support their families, and migrants who have fled unrest in neighboring countries are vulnerable to human trafficking; Tunisian women recruited into Lebanon's entertainment industry are forced into prostitution on arrival and other Tunisian women are forced into prostitution in Jordan; some Tunisian girls employed in domestic work are held in conditions of forced labor
    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; the government continues to maintain that human trafficking is not a widespread problem in Tunisia, which undermines awareness campaigns and does not differentiate human trafficking from migrant smuggling; prior commitments to enact draft anti-trafficking legislation were not fulfilled, and the government has not developed or implemented procedures to identify proactively trafficking victims; the government has assisted an unidentified number of trafficking victims in its shelters for vulnerable groups (2013)