Tunisia Population: 11,134,588


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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. In 2016, the new unity government continued to seek to balance political cohesion with economic and social pressures.

Strategic location in central Mediterranean; Malta and Tunisia are discussing the commercial exploitation of the continental shelf between their countries, particularly for oil exploration
Location: Northern Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Algeria and Libya
Geographic coordinates: 34 00 N, 9 00 E
Area: total: 163,610 sq km
land: 155,360 sq km
water: 8,250 sq km

Size comparison: slightly larger than Georgia
Land Boundaries: total: 1,495 km border countries (2): Algeria 1,034 km, Libya 461 km
Coastline: 1,148 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 12 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:
Natural resources: petroleum, phosphates, iron ore, lead, zinc, salt
Land use: agricultural land: 64.8% arable land 18.3%; permanent crops 15.4%; permanent pasture 31.1% forest: 6.6%
other: 28.6% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land: 4,590 sq km (2012)
Natural hazards: NA
Current Environment 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
International Environment 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
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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%
Population: 11,134,588 (July 2016 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 23.02% (male 1,320,426/female 1,243,287)
15-24 years: 15.05% (male 840,907/female 834,320)
25-54 years: 44.52% (male 2,402,272/female 2,554,362)
55-64 years: 9.21% (male 520,305/female 505,612)
65 years and over: 8.2% (male 448,870/female 464,227) (2016 est.)
Dependency ratios: total dependency ratio: 44.8%
youth dependency ratio: 33.8%
elderly dependency ratio: 11%
potential support ratio: 9.1% (2015 est.)
Median age: total: 32.4 years
male: 31.9 years
female: 32.7 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.86% (2016 est.)
Birth rate: 16.4 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate: 6 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Net migration rate: -1.7 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Urbanization: urban population: 66.8% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 1.38% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major urban areas - population: TUNIS (capital) 1.993 million (2015)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.94 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.97 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Maternal mortality rate: 62 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 21.6 deaths/1,000 live births male: 24.8 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 18.1 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 76.1 years male: 74 years
female: 78.4 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.98 children born/woman (2016 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate: 62.5% (2011/12)
Health expenditures: 7% of GDP (2014)
Physicians density: 1.22 physicians/1,000 population (2010)
Hospital bed density: 2.1 beds/1,000 population (2012)
Drinking water source: improved:
urban: 100% of population
rural: 93.2% of population
total: 97.7% of population

urban: 0% of population
rural: 6.8% of population
total: 2.3% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility access: improved:
urban: 97.4% of population
rural: 79.8% of population
total: 91.6% of population

urban: 2.6% of population
rural: 20.2% of population
total: 8.4% of population (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.04% (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 2,600 (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 100 (2015 est.)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate: 27.1% (2014)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight: 2.3% (2012)
Education expenditures: 6.3% of GDP (2012)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 81.8%
male: 89.6%
female: 74.2% (2015 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 15 years male: NA
female: NA (2014)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24: total: 37.6% male: 35.7%
female: 41.8% (2012 est.)
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Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Tunisia
conventional short form: Tunisia
local long form: Al Jumhuriyah at Tunisiyah
local short form: Tunis note: 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)
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: several previous; latest approved by Constituent Assembly 26 January 2014, signed by president on 27 January 2014 (2016)
Legal system: 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
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 Beji CAID ESSEBSI (since 31 December 2014)

head of government: Prime Minister Youssef CHAHED (since 27 August 2016)

cabinet: selected by the prime minister and approved by the Constituent Assembly 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); election last held on 23 November and 21 December 2014 (next to be held in 2019); following legislative elections, the prime minister is selected by the majority party or majority coalition and appointed by the president

election results: Beji CAID ESSEBSI elected president; percent of vote in runoff - Beji CAID ESSEBSI (Tunisia's Call) 55.7%, Moncef MARZOUKI (CPR) 44.3%
Legislative branch: description: unicameral Chamber of the People's Deputies (217 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote; members serve 5-year terms)

elections: initial election held on 26 October 2014 (next to be held in 2019)

election results: percent of vote by party - Tunisia's Call 39.6%, al-Nahda 31.8%, UPL 7.4%, Popular Front 6.9%, Afek Tounes 3.7%, CPR 1.8%, other 8.8%; seats by party - Tunisia's Call 86, al-Nahda 69, UPL 16, Popular Front 15, Afek Tounes 8, CPR 4, other 17, independent 2
Judicial branch: highest court(s): Court of Cassation or Cour de Cassation (organized into 1 civil and 3 criminal chambers); Constitutional Court (consists of 12 members) note: the new Tunisian constitution of January 2014 called for the creation of a constitutional court by the end of 2015; the court will consist of 12 members - 4 each appointed by the president, Supreme Judicial Council or SJC (an independent 4-part body consisting mainly of elected judges and the remainder legal specialists), and the Chamber of the People's Deputies (parliament); members will serve 9-year terms with one-third of the membership renewed every 3 years; in late 2015, the International Commission of Jurists called on Tunisia's parliament to revise the draft on the constitutional court to ensure compliance with international standards judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges nominated by the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC), a body of elected and appointed judges and specialized staff, after consultation with the prime minister; judge tenure based on terms of appointment; Constitutional Court members appointed 3 each by the president of the republic, the Chamber of the People's Deputies, and the SJC; members serve 9-year terms with one-third of the membership renewed every 3 years

subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal; administrative courts; Court of Audit; Housing Court; courts of first instance; lower district courts; military courts
Political parties and leaders: Afek Tounes [Yassine BRAHIM] Congress for the Republic or CPR [Imed DAIMI] Current of Love [Mohamed HAMDI] (formerly the Popular Petition party) Democratic Alliance Party [Mohamed HAMDI] Democratic Current [Mohamed ABBOU] Democratic Patriots' Unified Party Ennahda Movement (The Renaissance) [Rachid GHANNOUCHI] Free Patriotic Union or UPL (Union patriotique libre) [Slim RIAHI] Green Tunisia Party [Abdelkader ZITOUNI] Movement of Socialist Democrats or MDS [Ahmed KHASKHOUSSI] National Destourian Initiative or El Moubadra [Kamel MORJANE] Party of the Democratic Arab Vanguard People's Movement [Zouheir MAGHZAOUI] Popular Front (a coalition of 9 parties including Democractic Patriots' Unified Party, Workers' Party, Green Tunisia, Tunisian Ba'ath Movement, and Party of the Democractic Arab Vanguard) Popular Petition (Aridha Chaabia) [Hachemi HAMDI] Republican Party [Maya JRIBI] The Initiative [Kamel MORJANE] (formerly the Constitutional Democratic Rally or RCD) Tunisian Ba'ath Movement [Omar Othman BEKHADJ, secretary general] Tunisia's Call (Nidaa Tounes) [Mohamed ENNACEUR] Workers' Party [Hamma HAMMAMI]
Political pressure groups and leaders: 18 October Group [collective leadership] Tunisian League for Human Rights or LTDH [Mokhtar TRIFI] Tunisian General Labor Union or UGTT [Hassine ABASSI]
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
National symbol(s): encircled red star and crescent; 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
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: 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 Daniel H. RUBINSTEIN (Since 22 October 2015)
embassy: Zone Nord-Est des Berges du Lac Nord de Tunis 1053
mailing address: Zone Nord-Est des Berges du Lac Nord de Tunis 1053
telephone: [216] 71 107-000
FAX: [216] 71 963-263
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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 following the 2011 Arab Spring revolution. 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 EU. 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 Zine el Abidine BEN ALI (1987-2011) 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. Since its establishment in late 2014, Tunisia’s new government has faced challenges reassuring businesses and investors, bringing budget and current account deficits under control, shoring up the country's financial system, lowering high unemployment, and reducing economic disparities between the more developed coastal region and the impoverished interior. In 2015, successive terrorist attacks against the tourism sector and worker strikes in the phosphate sector, which combined account for nearly 15% of GDP, slowed growth to less than 1% of GDP.
GDP (purchasing power parity): GDP (purchasing power parity): $130.8 billion (2016 est.) $128.9 billion (2015 est.) $127.9 billion (2014 est.)

note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate): GDP (official exchange rate): $42.39 billion (2015 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 1.5% (2016 est.) 0.8% (2015 est.) 2.3% (2014 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): GDP - per capita (PPP): $11,700 (2016 est.) $11,600 (2015 est.) $11,600 (2014 est.)

note: data are in 2016 dollars
Gross national saving: 13.7% of GDP (2016 est.) 13.1% of GDP (2015 est.) 14% of GDP (2014 est.)
GDP - composition, by end use: household consumption: 71.6%
government consumption: 20.1%
investment in fixed capital: 18.8%
investment in inventories: 1.6%
exports of goods and services: 37.4%
imports of goods and services: -49.5% (2016 est.)
GDP - composition, by sector of origin: household consumption: 71.6%
government consumption: 20.1%
investment in fixed capital: 18.8%
investment in inventories: 1.6%
exports of goods and services: 37.4%
imports of goods and services: -49.5% (2016 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: 1.1% (2016 est.)
Labor force: 4.038 million (2016 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 14.8%
industry: 33.2%
services: 51.7% (2014 est.)
Unemployment rate: 15.4% (2016 est.) 15.2% (2015 est.)
Population below poverty line: 15.5% (2010 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 2.6%
highest 10%: 27% (2010 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index: 40 (2005 est.) 41.7 (1995 est.)
Budget: revenues: $9.882 billion
expenditures: $11.77 billion (2016 est.)
Taxes and other revenues: 23.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
Public debt: 57.3% of GDP (2016 est.) 54.6% of GDP (2015 est.)
Fiscal year: calendar year
Inflation rate (consumer prices): Inflation rate (consumer prices): 3.8% (2016 est.) 4.9% (2015 est.)
Current account balance: -$3.397 billion (2016 est.) -$3.849 billion (2015 est.)
Exports: $12.88 billion (2016 est.) $14.07 billion (2015 est.)
Exports - commodities: clothing, semi-finished goods and textiles, agricultural products, mechanical goods, phosphates and chemicals, hydrocarbons, electrical equipment
Exports - partners: France 28.5%, Italy 17.2%, Germany 10.9%, Libya 6.1%, Spain 4.2% (2015)
Imports: $17.75 billion (2016 est.) $19.1 billion (2015 est.)
Imports - commodities: textiles, machinery and equipment, hydrocarbons, chemicals, foodstuffs
Imports - partners: France 19.4%, Italy 16.4%, Algeria 8.2%, Germany 7.4%, China 6% (2015)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $6.276 billion (31 December 2016 est.) $7.059 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Debt - external: $27.23 billion (31 December 2016 est.) $25.45 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home: $37.27 billion (31 December 2016 est.) $36.39 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad: $285 million (31 December 2016 est.) $285 million (31 December 2015 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $8.887 billion (31 December 2012 est.) $9.662 billion (31 December 2011 est.) $10.68 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
Exchange rates: Tunisian dinars (TND) per US dollar - 2.141 (2016 est.) 1.9617 (2015 est.) 1.9617 (2014 est.) 1.6976 (2013 est.) 1.56 (2012 est.)
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Electricity - production: 18 billion kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - consumption: 15 billion kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - exports: 600 million kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - imports: 500 million kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity: 4.6 million kW (2014 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels: 95.9% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels: 0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants: 1.6% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources: 2.6% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Crude oil - production: 47,100 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Crude oil - exports: 48,530 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Crude oil - imports: 22,920 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Crude oil - proved reserves: 400 million bbl (1 January 2016 es)
Refined petroleum products - production: 35,530 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption: 89,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports: 17,650 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports: 64,620 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Natural gas - production: 1.661 billion cu m (2014 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 4.52 billion cu m (2014 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 2.86 billion cu m (2014 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 65.13 billion cu m (1 January 2016 es)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy: 21 million Mt (2013 est.)
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Cellular Phones in use: total: 14.598 million subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 132 (July 2015 est.)
Telephone system: 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 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-cell

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 a (2015)
Broadcast media: 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 priv (2007)
Internet country code: .tn
Internet users: total: 5.355 million percent of population: 48.5% (July 2015 est.)
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Airports: 29 (2013)
Airports (paved runways): 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)
Airports (unpaved runways): total 14

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 5
under 914 m: 8 (2013)
Pipelines: condensate 68 km; gas 3,111 km; oil 1,381 km; refined products 453 km (2013)
Railways: total 2,173 km
(1,991 in use) standard gauge: 471 km 1.435-m gauge dual gauge: 8 km 1.435-1.000-m gauge
narrow gauge: 1,694 km 1.000-m gauge (65 km electrified) (2014)
Roadways: total 19,418 km
paved: 14,756 km (includes 357 km of expressways)
unpaved: 4,662 km (2010)
Merchant marine: total 9

by type: bulk carrier 1, cargo 2, passenger/cargo 4, roll on/roll off 2 (2010)
Ports and terminals: major seaport(s): Bizerte, Gabes, Rades, Sfax, Skhira
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Military branches: Tunisian Armed Forces (Forces Armees Tunisiens, FAT): Tunisian Army (includes Tunisian Air Defense Force), Tunisian Navy, Republic of Tunisia Air Force (Al-Quwwat al-Jawwiya al-Jamahiriyah At'Tunisia) (2012)
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; Tunisian nationality required (2012)
Military expenditures: 1.55% of GDP (2012) 1.34% of GDP (2011) 1.55% of GDP (2010)
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 Transnational Issues
Disputes - International: none
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