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Info Africa - TUNISIA
Tunisia Tunisia, an Arab-Berber nation, is the smallest country in Northern Africa. It is situated next to the Mediterranean Sea, Libya and Algeria. This former French colony gained independence in 1956. Tunisia has always played a significant role in the Mediterranean as it is close to important shipping routes. In the past, the Romans, Arabs, Ottoman Turks and lastly the French took advantage of the strategic location of Tunisia. They all played a huge role in the history of Tunisia. Politically, Tunisia is stable and is continuously working to create a more open political society. Socially, Tunisia is known for establishing rights for women. In fact, women’s rights in Tunisia are among the most advanced in the Arab world. Tunisia
is often described as kaleidoscopic country. It has abundant Mediterranean beaches and parts of the Sahara desert are also in Tunisia. This country has rather fertile land and is home to six National Parks. Some of the central desert oases, such as Zaafrane or Kebili, have hot pools. Tunis, Tunisia’s capital, reflects much of the country’s diversity. This European-style city of tree-lined avenues is combined with a colourful, atmospheric medina. The Bab el Bahr (Porte de France) is an arched gateway that acts as the main entrance to the medina. This city has ancient and authentic souks (markets) that fill the alleys. Each souk is meant to specialize in a single trade. One of the oldest souk is the 13th century Souk el Attarine (the perfume-makers’ market), which still sells scents and oils. The Zitouna Mosque (the Great Mosque) is the largest mosque in Tunisia. The National Bardo Museum is home to one of the world’s greatest collections of Roman mosaics. Tunisia is also known for cultivating thousands of dates and olives every year and for attracting millions of Europeans to their beach resorts. Some famous films, such as Star Wars, were filmed in Tunisia.
CATEGORIES: Demographics - Quick Facts - Economy - Communications - Health Issues
Demographics
Country Flag: Tunisia's Flag

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

Nationality: Tunisian

Capital: Tunis

Population: 10,175,014 (July 2006 est.)

Age structure:

  • 0-14 years: 24.6%
  • 15-64 years: 68.6%
  • 65 years and over: 6.7% (2006 est.)  

Population growth rate: 0.99% (2006 est.)

Literacy rate:

  • ages 15 and above can read and write.
  • 74.3% of the population is literate (male: 83.4%, female: 65.3%) (2004 est.)

Major religions: Muslim 98%, Christian 1%, Jewish and other 1%

Languages: Arabic (official and one of the languages of commerce), French (commerce)

Quick Facts
Area:
  • total: 163,610 sq km
  • land: 155,360 sq km
  • water: 8,250 sq km

Area comparative to Canadian province: double the size of New Brunswick

Natural resources: petroleum, phosphates, iron ore, lead, zinc, salt

Environmental 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

Economy


Tunisia’s economy is diverse in nature. Its agricultural, mining, energy, tourism and manufacturing sectors play an integral role in its economy. Over the past decade, there has been an increase in privatization, a simplification of the tax structure and a more prudent approach to debt. At the same time, there has been less government control of economic affairs over this past decade. Living conditions have also improved as a result of progressive social policies. Between 2003 and 2005 there has been a GDP growth of about 5% for these years as a result of better rains. Tourism in Tunisia has also recovered following the end of fighting operations in Iraq. Some of Tunisia’s challenges include broader privatization, further liberalization of the investment code to increase foreign investment, improvements in government efficiency, and reduction of the trade deficit. In the meantime, Tunisia is slowly removing barriers to trade with the EU.


Major industries:

  • petroleum, mining (particularly phosphate and iron ore)
  • tourism
  • textiles
  • footwear
  • agribusiness
  • beverages

Agricultural products:

  • olives
  • olive oil
  • grain
  • tomatoes
  • citrus fruit
  • sugar beets
  • dates
  • almonds
  • beef
  • dairy products

Oil production: 76,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)

Railways: 2,152 km

Road map: 18,997 km (paved: 12,424 km, unpaved: 6,573 km)

Currency: Tunisian dinar

Communications

Telephone lines in use: 1,203,500 (2004)

Cellular lines in use: 3.563 million (2004)

Television Stations: 26 (plus 76 repeaters) (1995)

Radio Stations: AM 7, FM 20, shortwave 2 (1998)

Internet users: 835,000 (2005)

Health Issues

HIV/AIDS adult prevalence rate: less than 0.1% (2005 est.)

People living with HIV/AIDS: 1,000 (2003 est.)

More Information

For more informaiton, please visit:
http://cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/ts.html