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 Democracy Is Tested, and Pulls Through, After a President’s Death (Fri, 26 Jul 2019)
Béji Caïd Essebsi was “a tightrope walker,” guiding a fledgling democracy. The initial transition after his death has been smooth, though conflict lies ahead.
>> Read more

Béji Caïd Essebsi, President Who Guided Tunisia to Democracy, Dies at 92 (Thu, 25 Jul 2019)
In office at his death, he came out of retirement to lead his country after an Arab Spring uprising ousted a dictator, then won a free election.
>> Read more

Tunisia Bans Full-Face Veils for Security Reasons (Fri, 05 Jul 2019)
The decision came amid a growing effort to fight terrorism, and met with little public criticism. “Society is aware of the necessity of security,” an academic said.
>> Read more

Suicide Bombers Attack Security Forces in Tunisia (Thu, 27 Jun 2019)
Twin bombings in the capital, Tunis, hit a security patrol and a police station, killing one officer and injuring several others, officials said.
>> Read more

Dozens Dead as Migrant Boat Capsizes Off Tunisia (Fri, 10 May 2019)
At least 50 people were believed drowned off the coast of Tunisia after their boat — believed to be headed from Libya to Italy — capsized.
>> Read more

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