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.



Northern Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Algeria and Libya

Geographic coordinates

34 00 N, 9 00 E

Map references



total: 163,610 sq km
land: 155,360 sq km
water: 8,250 sq km

Area - comparative

slightly larger than Georgia

Land boundaries

total: 1,495 km
border countries (2): Algeria 1,034 km, Libya 461 km


1,148 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 12 nm


temperate in north with mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers; desert in south


mountains in north; hot, dry central plain; semiarid south merges into the Sahara


mean elevation: 246 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Shatt al Gharsah -17 m
highest point: Jebel ech Chambi 1,544 m

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


Environment - current 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

Environment - international 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

Geography - note

strategic location in central Mediterranean; Malta and Tunisia are discussing the commercial exploitation of the continental shelf between their countries, particularly for oil exploration

People and Society


11,134,588 (July 2016 est.)


noun: Tunisian(s)
adjective: Tunisian

Ethnic groups

Arab 98%, European 1%, Jewish and other 1%


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


Muslim (official; Sunni) 99.1%, other (includes Christian, Jewish, Shia Muslim, and Baha'i) 1%

Demographic profile

The Tunisian Government took steps in the 1960s to decrease population growth and gender inequality in order to improve socioeconomic development. Through its introduction of a national family planning program (the first in Africa) and by raising the legal age of marriage, Tunisia rapidly reduced its total fertility rate from about 7 children per woman in 1960 to 2 today. Unlike many of its North African and Middle Eastern neighbors, Tunisia will soon be shifting from being a youth-bulge country to having a transitional age structure, characterized by lower fertility and mortality rates, a slower population growth rate, a rising median age, and a longer average life expectancy.
Currently, the sizable young working-age population is straining Tunisia’s labor market and education and health care systems. Persistent high unemployment among Tunisia’s growing workforce, particularly its increasing number of university graduates and women, was a key factor in the uprisings that led to the overthrow of the BEN ALI regime in 2011. In the near term, Tunisia’s large number of jobless young, working-age adults; deficiencies in primary and secondary education; and the ongoing lack of job creation and skills mismatches could contribute to future unrest. In the longer term, a sustained low fertility rate will shrink future youth cohorts and alleviate demographic pressure on Tunisia’s labor market, but employment and education hurdles will still need to be addressed.
Tunisia has a history of labor emigration. In the 1960s, workers migrated to European countries to escape poor economic conditions and to fill Europe’s need for low-skilled labor in construction and manufacturing. The Tunisian Government signed bilateral labor agreements with France, Germany, Belgium, Hungary, and the Netherlands, with the expectation that Tunisian workers would eventually return home. At the same time, growing numbers of Tunisians headed to Libya, often illegally, to work in the expanding oil industry. In the mid-1970s, with European countries beginning to restrict immigration and Tunisian-Libyan tensions brewing, Tunisian economic migrants turned toward the Gulf countries. After mass expulsions from Libya in 1983, Tunisian migrants increasingly sought family reunification in Europe or moved illegally to southern Europe, while Tunisia itself developed into a transit point for sub-Saharan migrants heading to Europe.
Following the ousting of BEN ALI in 2011, the illegal migration of unemployed Tunisian youths to Italy and onward to France soared into the tens of thousands. Thousands more Tunisian and foreign workers escaping civil war in Libya flooded into Tunisia and joined the exodus. A readmission agreement signed by Italy and Tunisia in April 2011 helped stem the outflow, leaving Tunisia and international organizations to repatriate, resettle, or accommodate some 1 million Libyans and third-country nationals.

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.)

Population distribution

the overwhelming majority of the population is located in the northern half of the country; the south remains largely underpopulated


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

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

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)


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.)


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


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)


20 March 1956 (from France)

National holiday

Independence Day, 20 March (1956); Revolution and Youth Day, 14 January (2011)


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

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Tunisia
dual citizenship recognized: yes
residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years


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


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

Flag description

red with a white disk in the center bearing a red crescent nearly encircling a red five-pointed star; resembles the Ottoman flag (red banner with white crescent and star) and recalls Tunisia's history as part of the Ottoman Empire; red represents the blood shed by martyrs in the struggle against oppression, white stands for peace; the crescent and star are traditional symbols of Islam
note: the flag is based on that of Turkey, itself a successor state to the Ottoman Empire

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


Economy - overview

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, including slow economic growth and high unemployment. Following

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

Tunisia’s government remains under pressure to boost economic growth quickly to mitigate chronic socio-economic challenges, especially high levels of youth unemployment, which has persisted since the revolution in 2011. Successive terrorist attacks agains

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)

$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)

$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

agriculture: 10.1%
industry: 28.3%
services: 61.6% (2016 est.)

Agriculture - products

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


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.)


revenues: $9.882 billion
expenditures: $11.77 billion (2016 est.)

Taxes and other revenues

23.3% of GDP (2016 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-4.5% 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)

3.8% (2016 est.)
4.9% (2015 est.)

Central bank discount rate

5.75% (31 December 2010)

Commercial bank prime lending rate

7.31% (31 December 2016 est.)
6.76% (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of narrow money

$12.16 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$12.61 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of broad money

$31.32 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$30.9 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of domestic credit

$35.25 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$35.73 billion (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.)

Current account balance

-$3.397 billion (2016 est.)
-$3.849 billion (2015 est.)


$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)


$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.)

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.)


Electricity - access

electrification - total population: 100% (2016)

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.)


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 943,508
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 9 (July 2015 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular

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


Internet users

total: 5.355 million
percent of population: 48.5% (July 2015 est.)


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 3
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 41
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 3,496,190
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 10,354,241 mt-km (2015)

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

TS (2016)


29 (2013)

Airports - with 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 - with unpaved runways

total: 14
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 5
under 914 m: 8 (2013)


condensate 68 km; gas 3,111 km; oil 1,381 km; refined products 453 km (2013)


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)


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


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)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international


Trafficking in persons

current situation: Tunisia is a source, destination, and possible transit country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; Tunisia’s increased number of street children, rural children working to support their families, and migrants who have fled unrest in neighboring countries are vulnerable to human trafficking; organized gangs force street children to serve as thieves, beggars, and drug transporters; Tunisian women have been forced into prostitution domestically and elsewhere in the region under false promises of legitimate work; East and West African women may be subjected to forced labor as domestic workers
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List – Tunisia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; in 2014, Tunisia was granted a waiver from an otherwise required downgrade to Tier 3 because its government has a written plan that, if implemented would constitute making significant efforts to bring itself into compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; in early 2015, the government drafted a national anti-trafficking action plan outlining proposals to raise awareness and enact draft anti-trafficking legislation; authorities did not provide data on the prosecution and conviction of offenders but reportedly identified 24 victims, as opposed to none in 2013, and operated facilities specifically dedicated to trafficking victims, regardless of nationality and gender; the government did not fully implement its national victim referral mechanism; some unidentified victims were not protected from punishment for unlawful acts directly resulting from being trafficked (2015)