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Africa :: Tunisia Print
Page last updated on October 09, 2020
  • Introduction :: Tunisia
  • Background field listing

    Tunisia has been the nexus of many different colonizations including those of the Phoenicians (as early as the 12 century B.C.), the Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals, Byzantines, various Arab and Berber kingdoms, and the Ottomans (16th to late 19th centuries). 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 field listing
    Northern Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Algeria and Libya
    Geographic coordinates field listing
    34 00 N, 9 00 E
    Map references field listing
    Area field listing
    total: 163,610 sq km
    land: 155,360 sq km
    water: 8,250 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 94
    Area - comparative field listing
    slightly larger than Georgia
    Area comparison map: Area comparison map
    Land boundaries field listing
    total: 1,495 km
    border countries (2): Algeria 1034 km, Libya 461 km
    Coastline field listing
    1,148 km
    Maritime claims field listing
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    exclusive economic zone: 12 nm
    contiguous zone: 24 nm
    Climate field listing
    temperate in north with mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers; desert in south
    Terrain field listing
    mountains in north; hot, dry central plain; semiarid south merges into the Sahara
    Elevation field listing
    mean elevation: 246 m
    lowest point: Shatt al Gharsah -17 m
    highest point: Jebel ech Chambi 1,544 m
    Natural resources field listing
    petroleum, phosphates, iron ore, lead, zinc, salt
    Land use field listing
    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 field listing
    4,590 sq km (2012)
    Population distribution field listing
    the overwhelming majority of the population is located in the northern half of the country; the south remains largely underpopulated as shown in this population distribution map
    Natural hazards field listing
    flooding; earthquakes; droughts
    Environment - current issues field listing
    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 field listing
    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 field listing
    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 field listing
    11,721,177 (July 2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 79
    Nationality field listing
    noun: Tunisian(s)
    adjective: Tunisian
    Ethnic groups field listing
    Arab 98%, European 1%, Jewish and other 1%
    Languages field listing
    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 field listing
    Muslim (official; Sunni) 99.1%, other (includes Christian, Jewish, Shia Muslim, and Baha'i) 1%
    MENA religious affiliation: PDF
    Demographic profile field listing

    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 field listing
    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 field listing
    total dependency ratio: 49.6
    youth dependency ratio: 36.3
    elderly dependency ratio: 13.3
    potential support ratio: 7.5 (2020 est.)
    Median age field listing
    total: 32.7 years
    male: 32 years
    female: 33.3 years (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 107
    Population growth rate field listing
    0.85% (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 124
    Birth rate field listing
    15.9 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 112
    Death rate field listing
    6.4 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 146
    Net migration rate field listing
    -1.4 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 154
    Population distribution field listing
    the overwhelming majority of the population is located in the northern half of the country; the south remains largely underpopulated as shown in this population distribution map
    Urbanization field listing
    urban population: 69.6% of total population (2020)
    rate of urbanization: 1.53% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
    Major urban areas - population field listing
    2.365 million TUNIS (capital) (2020)
    Sex ratio field listing
    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 field listing
    43 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 99
    Infant mortality rate field listing
    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 field listing
    total population: 76.3 years
    male: 74.6 years
    female: 78.1 years (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 100
    Total fertility rate field listing
    2.06 children born/woman (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 105
    Contraceptive prevalence rate field listing
    62.5% (2011/12)
    Drinking water source field listing
    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 field listing
    7.2% (2017)
    Physicians density field listing
    1.3 physicians/1,000 population (2017)
    Hospital bed density field listing
    2.2 beds/1,000 population (2017)
    Sanitation facility access field listing
    improved: urban: 97.6% of population
    rural: 92.4% of population
    total: 95.9% of population
    unimproved: urban: 2.4% of population
    rural: 7.6% of population
    total: 4.1% of population (2017 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate field listing
    <.1% (2018 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS field listing
    2,800 (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 133
    HIV/AIDS - deaths field listing
    <100 (2018 est.)
    Obesity - adult prevalence rate field listing
    26.9% (2016)
    country comparison to the world: 40
    Children under the age of 5 years underweight field listing
    2.8% (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 106
    Education expenditures field listing
    6.6% of GDP (2015)
    country comparison to the world: 19
    Literacy field listing
    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) field listing
    total: 15 years
    male: 14 years NA
    female: 16 years NA (2016)
    Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 field listing
    total: 35%
    male: 34%
    female: 37.4% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 22
  • Government :: Tunisia
  • Country name field listing
    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 field listing
    parliamentary republic
    Capital field listing
    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 field listing
    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 field listing
    20 March 1956 (from France)
    National holiday field listing
    Independence Day, 20 March (1956); Revolution and Youth Day, 14 January (2011)
    Constitution field listing
    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 field listing
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    Citizenship field listing
    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 field listing
    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 field listing
    chief of state: President Kais SAIED (elected 13 October, sworn in 23 October 2019)
    head of government: Prime Minister Hichem MECHICHI (since 2 September 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 field listing
    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 field listing
    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 field listing
    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 field listing
    Diplomatic representation in the US field listing
    Charge d'Affaires Abdeljelil Ben RABEH (since 24 August 2020)
    chancery: 1515 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20005
    telephone: [1] (202) 862-1850
    FAX: [1] (202) 862-1858
    Diplomatic representation from the US field listing
    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 field listing
    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) field listing
    encircled red crescent moon and five-pointed star; national colors: red, white
    National anthem field listing
    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 field listing

    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) field listing
    $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) field listing
    $39.96 billion (2017 est.)
    GDP - real growth rate field listing
    2% (2017 est.)
    1.1% (2016 est.)
    1.2% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 155
    GDP - per capita (PPP) field listing
    $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 field listing
    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 field listing
    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 field listing
    agriculture: 10.1% (2017 est.)
    industry: 26.2% (2017 est.)
    services: 63.8% (2017 est.)
    Agriculture - products field listing
    olives, olive oil, grain, tomatoes, citrus fruit, sugar beets, dates, almonds; beef, dairy products
    Industries field listing
    petroleum, mining (particularly phosphate, iron ore), tourism, textiles, footwear, agribusiness, beverages
    Industrial production growth rate field listing
    0.5% (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 166
    Labor force field listing
    4.054 million (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 92
    Labor force - by occupation field listing
    agriculture: 14.8%
    industry: 33.2%
    services: 51.7% (2014 est.)
    Unemployment rate field listing
    15.5% (2017 est.)
    15.5% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 174
    Population below poverty line field listing
    15.5% (2010 est.)
    Household income or consumption by percentage share field listing
    lowest 10%: 2.6%
    highest 10%: 27% (2010 est.)
    Budget field listing
    revenues: 9.876 billion (2017 est.)
    expenditures: 12.21 billion (2017 est.)
    Taxes and other revenues field listing
    24.7% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 120
    Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) field listing
    -5.8% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 180
    Public debt field listing
    70.3% of GDP (2017 est.)
    62.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 51
    Fiscal year field listing
    calendar year
    Inflation rate (consumer prices) field listing
    5.3% (2017 est.)
    3.7% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 176
    Current account balance field listing
    -$4.191 billion (2017 est.)
    -$3.694 billion (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 179
    Exports field listing
    $13.82 billion (2017 est.)
    $13.57 billion (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 78
    Exports - partners field listing
    France 32.1%, Italy 17.3%, Germany 12.4% (2017)
    Exports - commodities field listing
    clothing, semi-finished goods and textiles, agricultural products, mechanical goods, phosphates and chemicals, hydrocarbons, electrical equipment
    Imports field listing
    $19.09 billion (2017 est.)
    $18.37 billion (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 79
    Imports - commodities field listing
    textiles, machinery and equipment, hydrocarbons, chemicals, foodstuffs
    Imports - partners field listing
    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 field listing
    $5.594 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
    $5.941 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 93
    Debt - external field listing
    $30.19 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
    $28.95 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 79
    Exchange rates field listing
    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 field listing
    electrification - total population: 100% (2016)
    Electricity - production field listing
    18.44 billion kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 78
    Electricity - consumption field listing
    15.27 billion kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 79
    Electricity - exports field listing
    500 million kWh (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 68
    Electricity - imports field listing
    134 million kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 96
    Electricity - installed generating capacity field listing
    5.768 million kW (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 77
    Electricity - from fossil fuels field listing
    94% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 49
    Electricity - from nuclear fuels field listing
    0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 198
    Electricity - from hydroelectric plants field listing
    1% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 151
    Electricity - from other renewable sources field listing
    5% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 109
    Crude oil - production field listing
    39,000 bbl/day (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 59
    Crude oil - exports field listing
    39,980 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 42
    Crude oil - imports field listing
    17,580 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 66
    Crude oil - proved reserves field listing
    425 million bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 48
    Refined petroleum products - production field listing
    27,770 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 85
    Refined petroleum products - consumption field listing
    102,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 79
    Refined petroleum products - exports field listing
    13,660 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 75
    Refined petroleum products - imports field listing
    85,340 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 58
    Natural gas - production field listing
    1.274 billion cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 64
    Natural gas - consumption field listing
    5.125 billion cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 59
    Natural gas - exports field listing
    0 cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 202
    Natural gas - imports field listing
    3.851 billion cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 41
    Natural gas - proved reserves field listing
    65.13 billion cu m (1 January 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 58
    Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy field listing
    23.42 million Mt (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 82
  • Communications :: Tunisia
  • Telephones - fixed lines field listing
    total subscriptions: 1,302,015
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 11 (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 69
    Telephones - mobile cellular field listing
    total subscriptions: 14,769,594
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 128 (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 68
    Telecommunication systems field listing
    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)
    note: 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 field listing
    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 field listing
    Internet users field listing
    total: 7,392,242
    percent of population: 64.19% (July 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 70
    Broadband - fixed subscriptions field listing
    total: 1,014,395
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 9 (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 69
  • Military and Security :: Tunisia
  • Military and security forces field listing
    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 (2020)
    Military expenditures field listing
    2.6% of GDP (2019)
    2.1% of GDP (2018)
    2.1% of GDP (2017)
    2.35% of GDP (2016)
    2.3% of GDP (2015)
    country comparison to the world: 35
    Military and security service personnel strengths field listing

    the Tunisian Armed Forces (FAT) have approximately 36,000 active personnel (27,000 Army; 5,000 Navy; 4,000 Air Force); est. 12,000 National Guard

    (2019 est.)
    Military equipment inventories and acquisitions field listing
    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.)
    Military service age and obligation field listing
    20-23 years of age for compulsory service, 1-year service obligation; 18-23 years of age for voluntary service (2019)
  • Transportation :: Tunisia
  • National air transport system field listing
    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 field listing
    TS (2016)
    Airports field listing
    29 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 119
    Airports - with paved runways field listing
    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 field listing
    total: 14 (2013)
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)
    914 to 1,523 m: 5 (2013)
    under 914 m: 8 (2013)
    Pipelines field listing
    68 km condensate, 3111 km gas, 1381 km oil, 453 km refined products (2013)
    Railways field listing
    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 field listing
    paved: 20,000 km (2015)
    Merchant marine field listing
    total: 67
    by type: general cargo 9, oil tanker 1, other 57 (2019)
    country comparison to the world: 105
    Ports and terminals field listing
    major seaport(s): Bizerte, Gabes, Rades, Sfax, Skhira
  • Terrorism :: Tunisia
  • Terrorist groups - home based field listing
    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 field listing


    Trafficking in persons field listing
    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)