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Common Tragedies
By Details > Visit Detail > Country Facts for Tunisia
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Map of Tunisia
IntroductionTop
Background:Following independence from France in 1956, President Habib BOURGUIBA established a strict one-party state. He dominated the country for 31 years, repressing Islamic fundamentalism and establishing rights for women unmatched by any other Arab nation. In recent years, Tunisia has taken a moderate, non-aligned stance in its foreign relations. Domestically, it has sought to defuse rising pressure for a more open political society.
GeographyTop
Location:Northern Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Algeria and Libya
Geographic coordinates:34 00 N, 9 00 E
Map references:Africa
Area:total: 163,610 sq km
land: 155,360 sq km
water: 8,250 sq km

Area - comparative:slightly larger than Georgia
Land boundaries:total: 1,424 km
border countries: Algeria 965 km, Libya 459 km

Coastline:1,148 km
Maritime claims:territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm

Climate:temperate in north with mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers; desert in south
Terrain:mountains in north; hot, dry central plain; semiarid south merges into the Sahara
Elevation extremes:lowest point: Shatt al Gharsah -17 m
highest point: Jebel ech Chambi 1,544 m

Natural resources:petroleum, phosphates, iron ore, lead, zinc, salt
Land use:arable land: 17.86%
permanent crops: 13.74%
other: 68.4% (2001)

Irrigated land:3,800 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:NA
Environment - current issues:toxic and hazardous waste disposal is ineffective and poses health risks; water pollution from raw sewage; limited natural fresh water resources; deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification
Environment - international agreements:party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation

Geography - note:strategic location in central Mediterranean; Malta and Tunisia are discussing the commercial exploitation of the continental shelf between their countries, particularly for oil exploration
PeopleTop
Population:10,074,951 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:0-14 years: 25.3% (male 1,316,308/female 1,234,309)
15-64 years: 68.1% (male 3,437,880/female 3,418,591)
65 years and over: 6.6% (male 321,287/female 346,576) (2005 est.)

Median age:total: 27.29 years
male: 26.78 years
female: 27.82 years (2005 est.)

Population growth rate:0.99% (2005 est.)
Birth rate:15.5 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Death rate:5.09 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Net migration rate:-0.54 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Sex ratio:at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.93 male(s)/female
total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2005 est.)

Infant mortality rate:total: 24.77 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 27.68 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 21.65 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:total population: 74.89 years
male: 73.2 years
female: 76.71 years (2005 est.)

Total fertility rate:1.75 children born/woman (2005 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:less than 0.1% (2005 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:1,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:less than 200 (2003 est.)
Nationality:noun: Tunisian(s)
adjective: Tunisian

Ethnic groups:Arab 98%, European 1%, Jewish and other 1%
Religions:Muslim 98%, Christian 1%, Jewish and other 1%
Languages:Arabic (official and one of the languages of commerce), French (commerce)
Literacy:definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 74.2%
male: 84%
female: 64.4% (2003 est.)

GovernmentTop
Country name:conventional long form: Tunisian Republic
conventional short form: Tunisia
local long form: Al Jumhuriyah at Tunisiyah
local short form: Tunis

Government type:republic
Capital:Tunis
Administrative divisions:24 governorates; Ariana (Aryanah), Beja (Bajah), Ben Arous (Bin 'Arus), Bizerte (Banzart), Gabes (Qabis), Gafsa (Qafsah), Jendouba (Jundubah), Kairouan (Al Qayrawan), Kasserine (Al Qasrayn), Kebili (Qibili), Kef (Al Kaf), Mahdia (Al Mahdiyah), Manouba (Manubah), Medenine (Madanin), Monastir (Al Munastir), Nabeul (Nabul), Sfax (Safaqis), Sidi Bou Zid (Sidi Bu Zayd), Siliana (Silyanah), Sousse (Susah), Tataouine (Tatawin), Tozeur (Tawzar), Tunis, Zaghouan (Zaghwan)
Independence:20 March 1956 (from France)
National holiday:Independence Day, 20 March (1956)
Constitution:1 June 1959; amended 1988, 2002
Legal system:based on French civil law system and Islamic law; some judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court in joint session
Suffrage:20 years of age; universal
Executive branch:chief of state: President Zine El Abidine BEN ALI (since 7 November 1987)
head of government: Prime Minister Mohamed GHANNOUCHI (since 17 November 1999)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 24 October 2004 (next to be held October 2009); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: President Zine El Abidine BEN ALI reelected for a fourth term; percent of vote - Zine El Abidine BEN ALI 94.5%, Mohamed BOUCHIHA 3.8%, Mohamed Ali HALOUANI 1%

Legislative branch:unicameral Chamber of Deputies or Majlis al-Nuwaab (189 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 24 October 2004 (next to be held October 2009)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - RCD 152, MDS 14, PUP 11, UDU 7, Al-Tajdid 3, PSL 2

Judicial branch:Court of Cassation or Cour de Cassation
Political parties and leaders:Al-Tajdid Movement [Ali HALOUANI]; Constitutional Democratic Rally Party (Rassemblement Constitutionnel Democratique) or RCD [President Zine El Abidine BEN ALI (official ruling party)]; Liberal Social Party or PSL [Mounir BEJI]; Movement of Socialist Democrats or MDS [Ismail BOULAHYA]; Popular Unity Party or PUP [Mohamed BOUCHIHA]; Progressive Democratic Party [Nejib CHEBBI]; Unionist Democratic Union or UDU [Abderrahmane TLILI]
Political pressure groups and leaders:the Islamic fundamentalist party, Al Nahda (Renaissance), is outlawed
International organization participation:ABEDA, ACCT, AfDB, AFESD, AMF, AMU, AU, BSEC (observer), FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, LAS, MIGA, MONUC, NAM, OAPEC, OAS (observer), OIC, ONUB, OPCW, OSCE (partner), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMEE, UNOCI, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTO
Flag description:red with a white disk in the center bearing a red crescent nearly encircling a red five-pointed star; the crescent and star are traditional symbols of Islam
EconomyTop
Economy - overview:Tunisia has a diverse economy, with important agricultural, mining, energy, tourism, and manufacturing sectors. Governmental control of economic affairs while still heavy has gradually lessened over the past decade with increasing privatization, simplification of the tax structure, and a prudent approach to debt. Progressive social policies also have helped raise living conditions in Tunisia relative to the region. Real growth slowed to a 15-year low of 1.9% in 2002 because of agricultural drought and lackluster tourism. Better rains in 2003 and 2004, however, helped push GDP growth above 5% for these years. Tourism also recovered after the end of combat operations in Iraq. Tunisia is gradually removing barriers to trade with the European Union. Broader privatization, further liberalization of the investment code to increase foreign investment, improvements in government efficiency, and reduction of the trade deficit are among the challenges ahead.
GDP:purchasing power parity - $70.88 billion (2004 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:5.1% (2004 est.)
GDP - per capita:purchasing power parity - $7,100 (2004 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:agriculture: 13.8%
industry: 31.8%
services: 54.4% (2004 est.)

Labor force:3.55 million
note: shortage of skilled labor (2004 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:services 55%, industry 23%, agriculture 22% (1995 est.)
Unemployment rate:13.8% (2004 est.)
Population below poverty line:7.6% (2001 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:lowest 10%: 2.3%
highest 10%: 31.8% (1995)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:41.7 (1995)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):4.1% (2004 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):24.5% of GDP (2004 est.)
Budget:revenues: $6.799 billion
expenditures: $7.573 billion, including capital expenditures of $1.6 billion (2004 est.)

Public debt:59.2% of GDP (2004 est.)
Agriculture - products:olives, olive oil, grain, dairy products, tomatoes, citrus fruit, beef, sugar beets, dates, almonds
Industries:petroleum, mining (particularly phosphate and iron ore), tourism, textiles, footwear, agribusiness, beverages
Industrial production growth rate:4.4% (2004 est.)
Electricity - production:10.72 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - production by source:fossil fuel: 99.5%
hydro: 0.5%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)

Electricity - consumption:10.05 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - exports:10 million kWh (2002)
Electricity - imports:90 million kWh (2002)
Oil - production:72,580 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:87,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:NA
Oil - imports:NA
Oil - proved reserves:1.7 billion bbl (2004 est.)
Natural gas - production:2.25 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:3.83 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - exports:0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - imports:1.58 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:77.16 billion cu m (2004)
Current account balance:$71.85 million (2004 est.)
Exports:$9.926 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Exports - commodities:textiles, mechanical goods, phosphates and chemicals, agricultural products, hydrocarbons
Exports - partners:France 30%, Italy 23.3%, Germany 9.3%, Spain 5.3%, Belgium 4.3%, Libya 4.2% (2004)
Imports:$11.52 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Imports - commodities:textiles, machinery and equipment, hydrocarbons, chemicals, food
Imports - partners:France 27.5%, Italy 20.8%, Germany 9.2%, Spain 5.7% (2004)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:$3.509 billion (2004 est.)
Debt - external:$14.71 billion (2004 est.)
Currency (code):Tunisian dinar (TND)
Currency code:TND
Exchange rates:Tunisian dinars per US dollar - 1.2455 (2004), 1.2885 (2003), 1.4217 (2002), 1.4387 (2001), 1.3707 (2000)
Fiscal year:calendar year
CommunicationsTop
Telephones - main lines in use:1,163,800 (2003)
Telephones - mobile cellular:1,899,900 (2003)
Telephone system:general assessment: above the African average and continuing to be upgraded; key centers are Sfax, Sousse, Bizerte, and Tunis; Internet access available
domestic: trunk facilities consist of open-wire lines, coaxial cable, and microwave radio relay
international: country code - 216; 5 submarine cables; satellite earth stations - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) and 1 Arabsat; coaxial cable and microwave radio relay to Algeria and Libya; participant in Medarabtel; two international gateway digital switches

Radio broadcast stations:AM 7, FM 20, shortwave 2 (1998)
Radios:2.06 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:26 (plus 76 repeaters) (1995)
Televisions:920,000 (1997)
Internet country code:.tn
Internet hosts:281 (2004)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):1 (2000)
Internet users:630,000 (2003)
TransportationTop
Railways:total: 2,152 km
standard gauge: 468 km 1.435-m gauge
narrow gauge: 1,674 km 1.000-m gauge (65 km electrified)
dual gauge: 10 km 1.435-m and 1.000-m gauges (three rails) (2004)

Highways:total: 18,997 km
paved: 12,424 km (including 142 km of expressways)
unpaved: 6,573 km (2001)

Pipelines:gas 3,059 km; oil 1,203 km; refined products 345 km (2004)
Ports and harbors:Bizerte, Gabes, La Goulette, Sfax, Sousse, Tunis, Zarzis
Merchant marine:total: 12 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 124,733 GRT/122,664 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 1, cargo 1, chemical tanker 5, passenger/cargo 4, petroleum tanker 1
registered in other countries: 3 (2005)

Airports:30 (2004 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:total: 14
over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 6
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 3 (2004 est.)

Airports - with unpaved runways:total: 16
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 7
under 914 m: 7 (2004 est.)

MilitaryTop
Military branches:Army, Navy, Air Force (2003)
Military manpower - military age and obligation:20 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - 12 months; 18 years of age for voluntary military service (2004)
Military manpower - availability:males age 20-49: 2,441,741 (2005 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:males age 20-49: 2,035,431 (2005 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:males: 108,817 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:$356 million (FY99)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:1.5% (FY99)
Transnational IssuesTop
Disputes - international:none



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