Form of Government: Republic
Area: 163 610 sq km
Population: 11 708 370 inhab. (estimate 2020)
Density: 71.56 inhab./sq km
Coordinates: lat. 37° - 30° N; long. 8° - 12° E
Capital: Tunis (capital) 610 995 inhab. (2020); Tunisi=Tūnis 2 863 562 inhab. (2020), urban agglomeration
Currency: Tunisian dinar (1000 millimes)
Human development index: 0.74 (rank: 95)
President: Kaïs Saïed (independent), elected 13 October 2019
Interim Prime Minister: Khaled Yahyaoui (indep.), since 25 July 2021
Assembly of the Representatives: seats based on the elections of 6 October 2019: Ennahda Movement (Renaissance Party, Islamist), 52; Hearth of Tunisia (centrist), 38; Democratic Current (social-democratic), 22; Dignity Coalition (Islamist), 21; Free Destourian Party (secular), 17; People’s Movement (socialist), 16; Tahya Tounes (“Long live Tunisia”, secular), 14; independents, 12; others, 25
Internet: www.ins.tn (Institut National de la Statistique)
Member of Arab League, AU, COMESA, EBRD, OAS observer, OIC, UN, WTO
International license plate code TN
International dialling code 00216
Travel vaccinations requirement yellow fever (required only if traveling from a country with risk of transmission)
Electricity (Voltage) 230
Driving side rigth
Internet code .tn
DST not applied
Annual average temperature (°C) Tunis 18.3
Average temperature in January/July (°C) Tunis 11/26
Daily sunshine hours in June/December (average) Tunis 11/5
Annual average precipitation (mm) Tunis 452
Days of rainfall (annual average) Tunis 67
Politics and current affairs
Following protests due to economic woes and at the inertia of the government, an institutional crisis is underway that has slowed political action. Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi oversaw a government shake-up, which was approved by the parliament on 26 January 2021, ousting the ministers close to President K. Saïed, who refused to approve the nominations; on 25 June, the president removed Mechichi from office and suspended parliament for 30 days.
Tunisia is bordered to the south-east by Libya and to the west by Algeria, with the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. The country is mostly mountainous in the north, with the eastern foothills of the Tell Atlas and the Saharan Atlas, separated by the River Medjerda (Majardah). These chains slope down to the east towards a strip of coastal plains (Sahel). Further to the south are the lowlands of the Tunisian Sahara. The climate, Mediterranean along the coast, is hot desert inland.
A French protectorate since 1881, Tunisia became independent on 20 March 1956. On 25 July 1957 the Assembly proclaimed the Republic and named Habib Burghiba as President, who held this position for thirty years until he was deposed due to “senility” (7 November 1987). He was succeeded by General Zin el Abdin Ben Ali, who was re-elected several times (last on 25 October 2009), but was forced to flee the country (14 January 2011) because of widespread popular protest. On 23 October 2011, a constituent assembly was appointed, which drew up and approved (26 January 2014) the country’s new Constitution, which replaced the 1 June 1959 constitution, amended several times. The country must face the threat of Islamic terrorism, which struck tourist targets twice in 2015.
The President of the Republic, elected by direct suffrage for a five-year term, appoints the Prime Minister, who answers to the unicameral parliament (Assembly of the People’s Representatives), made up of 217 members.
Defence and justice.
The legal system is based on the French legal system law. The 2014 Constitution, highly developed compared to standards in the region, is fruit of the compromise between the needs of democratic constitutionalism and proposals put forward by Islam-inspired parties at the heart of the Constituent Assembly.
|Homicides||3$||per 100 000 pop.||2012|
|Tunisi=Tūnis||2 863 562||inhab.||2020|
|Population by age and gender (% - 2020)|
Population growth is slower than the average of other countries in the area. There are large numbers of emigrants from Tunisia to Europe, especially to France and Italy.
There is still a small Jewish community (1500 people), particularly on the island of Djerba.
The economic problems that caused political upheavals in 2011 were not resolved, especially youth unemployment and the discrepancy between better and less developed areas. This situation was behind the protests and strikes, and was exacerbated in 2020 by the COVID-19 pandemic. The economic crisis increased the deficit, which was worsened by the general hypertrophy of the public sector and the vast system of subsidies, whose revision was slowed down by social tensions.
|Agricultural prod. index (2004-06=100)||117.1||index||2016|
|Agricultural prod. index (2014-16=100)||105.86||index||2019|
|Active population||4 108 027||units||2020|
|Active population, Females||26.2||%||2020|
|Unemployment rate, Females||38.5||%||2019|
|Expenses||36 315||M LCU||2019|
|Revenues||31 885||M LCU||2019|
|Currency in circulation||15.749||BN LCU||2020|
|International reserves||9 810.631||M US$||2020|
The main products are cereals (especially wheat and barley) and crops for export: olives (Tunisia is one of the world’s main producers of olive oil), vines, vegetables (tomatoes), fruit (watermelons). Dates from the south (Gabès and Tozeur) are especially prized. Citrus fruits are grown around the Gulf of Hammamet and almonds in the region of Sfax. On the higher lands in the north, cork is produced; in the steppe areas in the south alfalfa (lucerne) is grown.
In terms of livestock farming, sheep are the main resource. The main fishing products are tuna and sardines, sponge fishing is also still practiced.
|cereals, total||2 419.826||1000 t||2019|
|roots and tubers, total||440||1000 t||2019|
|beans, dry||0.137||1000 t||2019|
|beans, green||0.625||1000 t||2019|
|sunflower seed||4.877||1000 t||2019|
|sugar beet||74.599||1000 t||2019|
|seed cotton||0.672||1000 t||2019|
|citrus fruits||544.976||1000 t||2019|
|citrus fruits, nes||161.716||1000 t||2019|
|beans, dry||0.138||1000 ha||2019|
|beans, green||0.266||1000 ha||2019|
|olive||1 606.909||1000 ha||2019|
|sunflower seed||6.435||1000 ha||2019|
|sugar beet||1.346||1000 ha||2019|
|seed cotton||1.48||1000 ha||2019|
|citrus fruits||45.724||1000 ha||2019|
|citrus fruits, nes||15.314||1000 ha||2019|
|timber||3 914 000||m³||2019|
|cattle and buffaloes||645.125||1000 heads||2019|
|sheep||6 370.844||1000 heads||2019|
|goats||1 163.281||1000 heads||2019|
|asses and mules||325.097||1000 heads||2019|
|birds||105 101||1000 heads||2019|
|crustaceans and molluscs||17 495.2||t||2019|
Unlike other, nearby countries, Tunisia is not self-sufficient in terms of its energy supply.
The main crude oil deposits are at El-Borma, Ashtart and Douleb (connected by oil pipeline to Skhirra) and the Gulf of Gabès. Natural gas is extracted at El-Borma, Miskar and Jugurtha; the large Nawara gas field is being exploited. Other important resources are phosphates (Tunisia is amongst the world’s leading producers): vast deposits are found at Kalaat Djerda and Gafsa, connected by railway to the ports of Bizerte and Sfax. At Djerissa, Douaria, Tamera, and El Harrech there are iron ore deposits. In the north minerals such as lead, zinc and silver bearing materials are extracted. At Mégrine, Soliman, Ras Dimas, Mahdia, Sidi Salem and Kerkennah sea salt is produced.
About 50% of Tunisia’s industry is concentrated in the capital. Many manufacturing factories can be found in specific zones in Bizerte and Zarzis, where foreign companies enjoy special tax concessions. The main metal-working centres are at Bizerte, El Fouladh and Ben Arous. There are chemical plant in Tunis, Chamoud, Gabès, Djelloud and Sfax. At Bizerte there is a refinery. The production of cement is mostly at Bizerte, Gabès, Tunis, Enfidha and Fériana. There are also mechanical plants for the assembly of motor vehicles (Kairouan, Ben Arous) and components. In Tunis there is an electronics and telecommunications industry.
Light industry mainly consists of foodstuff factories (oil mills at Sfax, Sousse, El Moknine, M’Saken and Mégrine; sugar mills at Béja), cotton and clothing industries (shirts and underwear), tyres (at M’Saken and Menzel-Bourguiba), cigarettes, pulp and paper plants, ceramic (Nabeul) and carpet (Kairouan) workshops.
|natural gas||2 103||M m³||2019|
|oil, crude||1 555.8||1000 t||2020|
|iron ore||300||1000 t||2019|
|- thermal||18 879.9||M kWh||2018|
|- other renew.||674||M kWh||2019|
|- thermal||5 485||1000 kW||2018|
|- other renew.||307||1000 kW||2019|
|total net generation||19 523.73||M kWh||2018|
|total installed capacity||5 843||1000 kW||2018|
|steel, crude||50$||1000 t||2019|
|commercial vehicles||1 700||no.||2018|
|motor vehicles||1 700||no.||2018|
|nitrogen fertilizers||138.6||1000 t||2019|
|phosphate fertilizers||277.3||1000 t||2019|
|beer of barley||175||1000 t||2018|
|fish, preserved||17.7||1000 t||2018|
|cigarettes||9 624||M units||2007|
|cigars and cigarettes||9 624||M units||2007|
|other paper||148||1000 t||2019|
|cement||7 821||1000 t||2018|
|chemicals production||544.237||M US$||2018|
|food, beverages and tobacco production||1 352.648||M US$||2018|
Tunisia imports mainly textile products, machinery and hydrocarbons.
(M US$ - 2016)
electrical and electronic equipment 3 740, apparel and accessories 2 141, crude oil and petroleum products 750, machinery 644, vehicles and parts thereof 504, chemicals 432, technical and electro-medical appliances 426, plastics 405, olive oil 402, footwear 378, fertilizers 312, iron and steel 309
|manufactures||81.68||% of goods exports||2019|
|food products||10.655||% of goods exports||2019|
|France||4 353||M US$||2019|
|Italy||2 415||M US$||2019|
|Italy||3 320||M US$||2019|
|France||3 068||M US$||2019|
Tourism. Tourism is one of the main economic activities, but it has been severely affected by the security situation after the serious political crisis, the terrorist attacks and the 2020 pandemic. Important tourist resorts can be found at Sousse, Hammamet, Djerba, Monastir and Tozeur. Most tourists come from France, Germany and Italy.
|Number of arrivals||9 429 000||units||2019|
|Civil aviation, km flown||28 200 000||km flown||2004|
|Civil aviation, passengers carried||4 335.3||1000 units||2019|
|Broadband subscribers||102.043||per 1000 pop.||2019|
|Computers||97$||per 1000 pop.||2008|
Social and welfare
|Expected years of schooling||15.126||years||2016|
|Students, primary level||1 201 736||units||2018|
|Students, secondary level||972 460||units||2018|
|Social protection spending||28.8||% of total expenses||2012|
|Hospital beds||1.85||per 1000 pop.||2018|
|Physicians||1.3||per 1000 pop.||2018|
|HIV||-0.1||% of adults||2019|
|Tuberculosis||35$||per 100 000 pop.||2019|
|Research and development spending||0.601||% of GDP||2018|
|Access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking||99.8||%||2019|
|Access to electricity||100||%||2019|