Location: North Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Algeria and Libya.vArea: 163,610 sq. km. (63,378 sq. mi.), slightly smaller than Missouri. Cities: Capital--Tunis; Sfax, Bizerte, Sousse, Nabeul.
Terrain: Arable land in north and along central coast; south is mostly semiarid or desert.
Climate: Hot, dry summers and mild, rainy winters. Land use: Arable land--17.05%; permanent crops--13.08%; other--69.87%.

People and Economy

Nationality: Noun and adjective--Tunisian(s).
Population (2010): 10.549 million
Annual population growth rate (2010): 1.2%. Birth rate--17.7 births/1,000 population. Death rate-- 5.7 deaths/1,000 population.
Ethnic groups: Arab-Berber 98%, European 1%, other 1%.
Religions: Muslim 99%, Christian less than 1%, Jewish less than 1%.
Languages: Arabic (official), French.
Education: Years compulsory--9. Literacy (definition--aged 15 and over and can read and write, 2007 est.)--74.3%; Male 83.4%; Female 65.3%.
Health (2009): Infant mortality rate--17.8 deaths/1,000 live births. Life expectancy--74.5 total, 72.5 years male, 76.5 years female.
Work force ( 2010): 3.769 million.
Unemployment rate (2011): 18.57%
Unemployed people: 700,000

Real GDP (2010) TND 60.51 billion (U.S. $ 42.23 billion).
Real GDP growth rate (2010): 3%Per capita GDP, PPP (current prices, IMF 2010): U.S. $4,200
Natural resources: natural gas, crude oil, phosphates, salt, iron ore.
Agriculture: Products--olives, olive oil, grain, tomatoes, citrus fruit, sugar beets, dates, almonds; beef, dairy products.
Industry: Types--petroleum, mining (particularly phosphate), textiles, footwear, food processing, electric and mechanical components.
Services: Tourism, commerce, transport, communications.
Sector information as percentage of GDP (2010): Merchant Services 43.4% (of which 5.5% is from tourism); industry 31.1%; agriculture and fishing 7.9%.
Trade (2010): Exports--$16.416 billion: clothing, semi-finished goods and textiles, agricultural products, mechanical goods, phosphates and chemicals, hydrocarbons, electrical equipment. By region--Europe 76.35%, Africa 11.73%, Asia 5%, Americas 3.33%.By country (U.S. $)--France $4.711 billion; Italy $3.263 billion; Germany $1.387 billion; Spain $636.715 million; Libya $731.853 million; U.K. $824.338 million; Belgium $320 million; U.S. $388.3 million. Imports--$22.208 billion: textiles, machinery and equipment, hydrocarbons, chemicals, foodstuffs. By region--Europe 71.2%, Asia 14.56%, Africa 5.71%, Americas 6.94%. By country (U.S. $)--France $4.195 billion; Italy $3.877 billion; Germany $1.696 billion; Spain $1.020 billion; China $1.343 billion; Libya $ 283.6 million; U.S. $890.93 million.


Type: Republic.
Constitution: June 1, 1959; amended July 12, 1988, June 29, 1999, June 1, 2002, May 13, 2003, and July 28, 2008.
Independence: March 20, 1956.
Branches: Executive--chief of state interim President Fouad MBAZZA (since January 17, 2011); head of government, interim Prime Minister Beji CAID ESSEBSI (since February 28, 2011); cabinet, Council of Ministers appointed by the president; prime minister appointed by the president.
Legislative-- Elections on October 23, 2011 will yield a 218 seat Constituent Assembly mandated to draft a new constitution and name a new interim government. The previous parliament was suspended in late January 2011 following the fall on January 14, 2011 of former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and the decision by the “Supreme Council to Achieve the Objectives of the Revolution” to disband and outlaw the ruling party, the Democratic Constitutional Rally (RCD).
Judicial-- District Courts, Courts of Appeal, Highest Court (Cour de Cassation). Judges of all courts are appointed by the Minister of Justice and Human Rights.
Political parties: As of early August 2011, there were more than 100 registered political parties. Before Ben Ali fled the country on January 14, 2011, there were less than ten parties.
Administrative divisions: 24 governorates--Ariana, Beja, Ben Arous, Bizerte, El Kef, Gabes, Gafsa, Jendouba, Kairouan, Kasserine, Kebili, Mahdia, Manouba, Medenine, Monastir, Nabeul, Sfax, Sidi Bou Zid, Siliana, Sousse, Tataouine, Tozeur, Tunis, Zaghouan.
Suffrage: Universal at 18.


Tunisia’s #MeToo Started Outside a High School. Will It End in Court? (Sat, 09 Nov 2019)
Outrage over photographs of a politician appearing to sexually harass a student led hundreds of women to speak out about abuse. But how much change results may depend on a legal case.
>> Read more

Top Contender for Tunisia Presidency Freed From Jail, 4 Days Before Vote (Wed, 09 Oct 2019)
Nabil Karoui, one of the two candidates in the runoff to become Tunisia’s president, was released after threatening to seek postponement of Sunday’s vote.
>> Read more

Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, 83, Tunisia Autocrat Ousted in Arab Spring, Dies (Thu, 19 Sep 2019)
His oppressive rule set off uprisings that spread throughout the Arab world. He died in exile in Saudi Arabia, which had refused to extradite him.
>> Read more

Little-Known Professor and a Media Mogul Advance in Tunisia’s Presidential Election (Tue, 17 Sep 2019)
The two populists will vie for the country’s top job in a runoff election next month.
>> Read more

Tunisia Votes for a President as It Struggles to Build Democracy (Sun, 15 Sep 2019)
Its economy is lagging and there are threats to its security, but Tunisia still managed to hold a free presidential election. That makes it a regional anomaly.
>> Read more

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