Tunisia Overview

Location of Tunisia

Since the revolt in January 2011, Tunisia has increasingly moved into the German and European focus. The small Mediterranean state in North Africa, formerly known primarily as a holiday destination, is now becoming a laboratory for the democratization process. Political events currently determine political, economic and social debates in the country.

Country overview

According to a2zgov, Tunisia lies on the Mediterranean Sea and borders Algeria to the west and south-west (965 km shared border) and Libya to the south-east (459 km). The coast of mainland Tunisia is 1283 km long, plus islands and lagoons (total coast length 2290 km). With an area of 163,610 km², the country is almost half the size of Germany.

History

Tunisia’s strategically favorable location has given the country a rich and eventful history. Since ancient times the country has been an important trading post and at the same time the scene of armed conflicts. Due to its location and the succession of important civilizations, the country has many culturally and historically important sites.

Economy

Tunisia is a largely free market economy, with competition having been severely restricted in recent years due to the increasing influence of the family of the ousted President Ben Ali.

Society

Tunisian society with around 11 million residents is relatively homogeneous. Tribal structures hardly play a role and Muslims are in the vast majority at 98%. A good half of the population is younger than 30 years.

Everyday life

For stays in Tunisia that do not exceed three months, German citizens do not need a visa, but can enter with their passport. If you stay in the country for more than three months, you must apply for an extension of your visa or a residence permit.

Overview

Official name: Republic of Tunisia

Area: 163610 km²

Residents: 10.98 million (2014)

Growth of population: 0.92% (2014, estimated)

Seat of government: Tunis

Official language: Standard Arabic

Regional languages: Tunisian Arabic, French, Shilha

Current information

Current information on Tunisia can be found in the large French-language newspapers La Presse and Le Temps as well as on numerous private information portals. The online magazine Inkyfada offers good background coverage. The privately operated website Tunesien explorer provides information from the Tunisian press translated into German. The website of the Ministry of Tourism provides information on tourist offers. In the Official Journal Journal Officiel, which appears on Tuesdays and Fridays (in Arabic, the nonbinding French and English translations usually follow a few weeks later) all laws and decrees are published.

Location and size

Tunisia lies on the Mediterranean Sea and borders Algeria to the west and south-west (965 km shared border) and Libya to the south-east (459 km). The Tunisian coast is 1148 km long. With an area of 163,610 km², the country is almost half the size of Germany. In addition to the island of Djerba in the south and the Kerkennah islands off Sfax, many small islands such as Yalta, Zembra and Zembretta in the north of the country belong to the Tunisian national territory. Most of them, however, are only accessible to a limited extent or not at all, as they are either under nature protection or military territory.

Location of Tunisia

Basic data and sources of information

Tunisia has almost 11 million residents, of which around 2.5 million live in the greater Tunis area (in the governorates of Tunis, Manouba, Ariana and Ben Arous). Around two thirds of Tunisians live in cities, with Sfax being the second largest city in the country after Tunis.

A good half of the population is younger than 30 years, life expectancy is 75 years, the literacy rate is around three quarters of the population.

The official language of Tunisia is Arabic (with the Tunisian dialect spoken in everyday life); French is widely used as a commercial and educational language. Some Berber languages are still spoken in the south of the country. Italian is understood and partly spoken by many Tunisians, since before the advent of satellite television in Tunisia, only French and Italian channels could be received alongside the national ones. English is now relatively widespread among younger Tunisians and in the tourist coastal regions.

The overwhelming majority of Tunisians, around 98%, are Muslims (mostly Malekite Sunnis), and there are also small Christian and Jewish minorities.

The CIA Factbook provides further information and data in English for the US foreign intelligence service and the Tunisian statistical agency. It provides information in Arabic, French and English. The reliability of the data from the time before the overthrow of January 14, 2011 is not guaranteed. Studies by the statistical office, for example, on the unemployment rate and the poverty line, come to values that deviate from current calculations by the Tunisian Ministry of Social Affairs. The data from the 2014 census are separately available and more clearly presented.

Many German and international organizations provide further information on Tunisia, including the Federal Foreign Office, the World Bank and the UNDP’s Human Development Report and the Encyclopedia Britannica.