Tunisia Basic Facts - History

Tunisia Basic Facts - History

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Population mid-1997 (millions) .....................9,513,603
GNP per capita 1997 (Atlas method, US$)...........2,110
GNP 1997 (Atlas method, US$ billions)................ 19.4

Average annual growth 1991-97
Population (%) ....... 1.7
Labor force (%) ....... 2.6

Total Area...................................................................63,170 sq. mi.
Urban population (% of total population) ............................... 63

Life expectancy at birth (years)..................................................... 70
Infant mortality (per 1,000 live births)........................................30
Child malnutrition (% of children under 5) ...............................9
Access to safe water (% of population) .....................................90
Illiteracy (% of population age 15+) ............................................33


Tunisia, [a] officially the Republic of Tunisia, [b] is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a part of the Maghreb region of North Africa, and is bordered by Algeria to the west and southwest, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east covering 163,610 km 2 (63,170 sq mi), with a population of 11 million. It contains the eastern end of the Atlas Mountains and the northern reaches of the Sahara desert, with much of its remaining territory arable land. Its 1,300 km (810 mi) of coastline include the African conjunction of the western and eastern parts of the Mediterranean Basin. Tunisia is home to Africa's northernmost point, Cape Angela and its capital and largest city is Tunis, located on its northeastern coast, which lends the country its name.

From early antiquity, Tunisia was inhabited by the indigenous Berbers. Phoenicians began to arrive in the 12th century BC, establishing several settlements, of which Carthage emerged as the most powerful by the 7th century BC. A major mercantile empire and a military rival of the Roman Republic, Carthage was defeated by the Romans in 146 BC, who occupied Tunisia for most of the next 800 years, introducing Christianity and leaving architectural legacies like the amphitheatre of El Jem. After several attempts starting in 647, Muslims conquered all of Tunisia by 697, bringing Islam and Arab culture to the local inhabitants. The Ottoman Empire established control in 1574 and held sway for over 300 years, until the French conquered Tunisia in 1881. Tunisia gained independence under the leadership of Habib Bourguiba, who declared the Tunisian Republic in 1957. Today, Tunisia is the smallest nation in North Africa, and its culture and identity are rooted in this centuries-long intersection of different cultures and ethnicities.

In 2011, the Tunisian Revolution, triggered by the lack of freedom and democracy under the 24-year rule of president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, overthrew his regime and catalyzed the broader Arab Spring across the region. Free multiparty parliamentary elections were held shortly after the country again voted for parliament on 26 October 2014, [19] and for president on 23 November 2014. [20] Tunisia remains a unitary semi-presidential representative democratic republic and is the only North African country classified as "Free" by Freedom House, [21] and considered the only fully democratic state in the Arab World in the Economist Intelligence Unit's Democracy Index. [22] [c] It is one of the only few countries in Africa ranking high in the Human Development Index, with one of the highest per capita incomes in the continent.

Tunisia is well integrated into the international community. It is a member of the United Nations, La Francophonie, the Arab League, the OIC, the African Union, the Non-Aligned Movement, the International Criminal Court, and the Group of 77, among others. It maintains close economic and political relations with some European countries, particularly with France, [23] and Italy, [24] [25] which geographically lie very close to it. Tunisia also has an association agreement with the European Union, and has also attained the status of major non-NATO ally of the United States.

History and Ethnic Relations

Emergence of the Nation. Tunisia's geographical location has meant that many different peoples have entered and dominated the country. Probably the original population was Berber speaking. The parade of invaders began with the Phoenicians, who settled Carthage, used it as a trading base, and eventually entered into a losing conflict with Rome. Under the Romans, who dominated Tunisia for several centuries, Christianity also entered the country. After the decline of the Romans, the Vandals invaded from the west, followed by a Byzantine reconquest from the east. The Byzantines were replaced by Muslim Arabs from the east, but by land, in the seventh century. Tunisia has been predominantly Arabic-speaking and Muslim since then, though dynasties have come and gone. After 1574, Tunisia was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire. The Spanish held parts of Tunisia briefly before the Ottomans, and the French ruled Tunisia during the colonial period from 1881 to 1956.

Tunisia was ruled by the Husseini dynasty of beys from 1705 to 1957. The beys of Tunis and their government tried to construct a modern Tunisia during the nineteenth century to fend off stronger European powers. After France took over Algeria in 1830, pressure on Tunisia grew. In 1881, the bey of Tunis accepted a French protectorate over the country. France set up a colonial administration, and facilitated the settlement in Tunisia of many French and other Europeans, mainly Italians. About a generation after the establishment of the protectorate, a nationalist movement emerged, seeking a modern and independent Tunisia. The Destour (Constitution) Party was founded about 1920, and in 1934 an offshoot known as the Neo-Destour Party became dominant under the leadership of Habib Bourguiba (1903–2000).

Parallel to the political movement, a strong labor movement also emerged. Usually working together, the political and labor wings struggled against French colonialism until independence in 1956. A republic was declared in 1957, with Bourguiba as the first president. The independent government carried out many social reforms in the country, with regard to education, women's status, and economic structures. During the 1960s the government followed a socialist policy, then reverted to liberalism while retaining a substantial state involvement. In 1987 Bourguiba was declared senile and replaced by Zine El Abidine Ben Ali (1936–), but without a major shift in policy. Contemporary policy is pragmatic rather than ideological.

National Identity. By the end of the nineteenth century, Tunisians distinguished between Moors, Turks, Jews, Berbers, Andalusians, Arabs, and various sorts of Europeans. Few of these distinctions are relevant today. Some groups were assimilated, others such as the colonial Europeans eventually retreated. None of the invasions and population movements left traces in the ethnic structure of the country. The geography of the city of Tunis and its hinterland, and the effort to create a national culture, have proved stronger than diverse ethnic origins in shaping Tunisian identity.

It spread to Egypt and Syria

In Egypt, Cairo’s Tahrir Square was the site of 18 days of huge protests that brought together tens of thousands of Egyptians demanding that their president, Hosni Mubarak, step down. The dramatic protests eventually forced Mubarak, who had ruled for 30 years, out of office. The revolution ushered in an era of political chaos and instability in Egypt, which has continued to repress its citizens.

The dream of democracy also proved fleeting in Syria, where the peaceful pro-democracy protesters were met with government opposition. After the Syrian government killed and imprisoned Arab Spring protesters, the country split into factions and sectarian violence broke out. Civil war soon followed. Foreign intervention has failed to stop the war, which has displaced more than half of all Syrians and killed up to half a million people.

Tunisia Facts:Tourist Attractions in Tunisia

Tunisia is known for ancient ruins of Carthage, the beaches along the Mediterranean coastline, the resorts on the island of Djerba as well as desert safaris that can be undertaken in the country's interior.

Hammamet in Tunisia is a popular destination

Other popular family travel destinations are:

  • Tun is : Visit the medina with palaces and mosques, including the Bardo national museum with archeological exhibits. The ruins of the ancient city of Carthage are located under some suburbs of the modern city. Tunis was formerly known as Carthage, which fell to the Romans in 146 BC. 

Minaret in Tunis
  • Djerba: This Mediterranean island off the southern coast is popular for its beaches, whitewashed towns, the fishing port town of Houmt Souk and its castle as well as for its popular tourist resorts.

Great Mosque of Kairouan
  • El Djem Amphitheatre was built when Tunisia once belonged to the Roman Empire and is one of the largest amphitheatres in the world. It could seat over 30 000 spectators. This famous Tunisian landmark is located between the cities of Sousse and Sfax.

El Djem Amphitheatre in Tunisia

Military History

The Tunisian National Army (Arme Nationale Tunisienne - ANT), which was divided into army, air force, and naval components, had a threefold mission: to defend the country's territorial integrity against hostile foreign powers, to assist the police as necessary in maintaining internal security, and to participate actively in government-sponsored civic action programs. The government has also sought to ensure, largely with success, that the ANT had little influence in the political sphere.

Since the late 1970s, all of the armed services have undergone expansion and modernization designed to improve their defenses against attack from potentially hostile states. Although the improvements were extremely costly, the worsened relationship with Libya and the vulnerability demonstrated by the Israeli raid have heightened concern about Tunisia's military weaknesses. The president in 1985 therefore directed his government to explore with its friends and allies in the Arab world and the West the possibility of assistance in making new large-scale purchases of aircraft, armor, and naval vessels.

Contemporary Tunisian society reflects little of the military tradition that permeates the national life of the other Maghribi countries. Many scholarly observers have attributed this anomaly partly to legacies of the era before Tunisia's protectorate period and to experiences encountered during the 75 years of French domination. Political scientist Jacob C. Hurewitz has also pointed to changes that have occurred within the society, including the virtual disappearance of traditional Berber culture. Thus Bourguiba and the PSD have not had to depend on the leverage of a preeminent military establishment to settle internal disputes between contending ethnic or regional groups as have leaders in other developing countries. Neither has it required military help in unifying the large homogeneous population behind the goals and aspiration that Bourguiba and his political elite have upheld as national objectives. Even so, the national life of the country has not been entirely devoid of military experience.

While under French control, Tunisia served France as an important source of manpower. After establishing the protectorate, the French, under a beylical decree in 1883, were granted the authority to recruit local Muslims for the purpose of forming mixed French-Muslim military units. By 1893 all Muslim males in Tunisia became subject to military duty, although it was possible for those chosen for service to provide substitutes as long as induction quotas were fulfilled. As a result, most of the recruits came from the poorer classes of Tunisian society, and illiteracy was the norm among them. Conscripted Muslim Tunisians were required to serve for three years, as were French settlers, who were subject to the conscription laws of metropolitan France.

To assist in the pacification effort throughout the Maghrib, the French - as they had done in Algeria - formed Muslim infantry regiments of tirailleurs (riflemen) and spahis (cavalry) in Tunisia. In the late nineteenth century some of these units joined with their Algerian counterparts in aiding the French in military conquests south of the Sahara. Muslim Tunisian soldiers also formed regiments in the Foreign Legion and served in southern Tunisia as haristes (camel corpsmen). Although Muslims served in all branches of the French army, strict segregation was normal. Few Tunisian soldiers - unless they were naturalized French citizens - were able to become officers, and of those only a small number rose beyond the rank of captain. In mixed units Muslim officers were not permitted command authority, and none were given high-level staff positions anywhere in the French military organization. The infantry and cavalry units were strictly divided on ethno-religious grounds Muslim soldiers served under the command of French officers and noncommissioned officers (NCOs). More equality existed in artillery units, where Muslim soldiers were assigned as drivers as the French served as gunners. Most of the transportation corps consisted of Muslims under French command.

Although recruited chiefly for military service in Africa, Tunisian members of the French army were liable for service abroad and served with courage and distinction in such divergent spots as France and Indochina. It has been estimated that of the approximately 75,000 Tunisians who served France during World War I, some 50,000 experienced combat in the trenches on the western front, where they suffered a high casualty rate. Before France collapsed under the onslaught of Hitler's troops in World War II, many Tunisian soldiers and their counterparts from Algeria and Morocco were sent to Europe to aid the French in their fight against the Germans. As part of Hitler's June 1940 armistice agreement that accompanied German occupation, France was permitted to retain 15,000 troops in Tunisia, of which roughly 10,500 were Muslims. After Allied successes in the fight to liberate North Africa in 1943, Tunisian and other North African soldiers saw action in the Italian campaign and the eventual liberation of France.

After World War II the rise of Tunisian nationalism and the emergence of sporadic guerrilla warfare directed against French interests heralded the quest for independence. From early 1952 Tunisian guerrilla bands enjoyed considerable popular support and conducted operations primarily in the south. Their activities consisted mainly of acts of sabotage and coercion against the French community as well as against Tunisians who sympathized with the French authorities. The Tunisians involved in these demonstrations of militancy were labeled fellaghas (rebels) by the French press. As a result of an intense counterinsurgency campaign waged against them by the Foreign Legion, the fellaghas sought refuge in the central and southern mountains, buying time and increasing their strength and support from muslims who resented French administrative policies and practices. Although the fellaghas were able to strike occasionally against French authority, they were never able to muster a unified and cohesive force. It has been estimated that their strength never exceeded 3,000 men. By early 1956 most of their bands were deactivated as an act of cooperation aimed at enhancing the prospects of independence.

In April 1956 the French transferred responsibility for Tunisia's internal security to the new Tunisian government, including indigenous elements of the police services that had operated under French control during the protectorate era. The new Tunisian government used them to track down militants connected with nationalist leader Ben Youssef, who challenged Bourguiba's leadership of the Neo-Destour Party and the country. Some of the agitators of this group were arrested, tried, and sentenced as an example of the government's intention to ensure a climate of acceptable public order for its development goals. Despite these efforts, however, the Youssefist threat was controlled only with the force of large-scale operations by the French army three months after Tunisian independence. In the matter of responsibility for defense - and the building of a national military establishment - the transfer of authority was more difficult. To support its activities in suppressing the revolution in neighboring Algeria, the French government sought to maintain its military presence in independent Tunisia, espousing the notion that both countries would share in the new state's external defense needs. This form of interdependence, however, drew a less than sympathetic response from Bourguiba and his Neo-Destour Party hierarchy. It was only after long months of negotiations that in June 1956 the French government, beset with greater concerns for the Algerian conflict, agreed to assist Tunisia in the formation of its own military arm.

The nucleus of the new military force - the ANT - consisted of roughly 1,300 Muslim Tunisian soldiers, who were released from the French army, and some 600 ceremonial troops of the beylical guard, which the French had permitted the Tunisian bey to retain as a personal bodyguard throughout the protectorate era. These sources of military personnel were supplemented by volunteers - loyal party youth and politically reliable fellaghas of the earlier resistance movement. Key officer and NCO positions were filled by personnel carefully selected by the leadership of the Neo-Destour Party. Many of those selected had received training at Saint Cyr, the French military academy, or had served as NCOs in French Military units. All were loyal Neo-Destourians.

By the end of 1956 the force consisted of roughly 3,000 officers and men organized in a single regiment, but its effectiveness was limited by a shortage of qualified officers. Resolution of this problem was aided through a negotiated agreement with the French, who provided spaces for 110 Tunisian officer candidates to train at Saint Cyr. Meanwhile, a school for NCOs was established at Tunis with French help, and 2,000 enlisted men were enrolled to build up the needed cadre for the NCO corps. In addition to training Tunisian personnel, France provided a modest amount of military equipment and established a small liaison unit of French army officers, who were to advise and assist in matters of command and staff procedures.

Despite the assistance provided the new republic, independence did not remove frictions with the French. The war in neighboring Algeria and the continued occupation of bases in Tunisia by French forces-a concession of the independence agreement - served as unsettling factors for Tunisians. When the Bourguiba government pressed for the removal of its toops in mid-1957, France reacted with threats to terminate military assistance to the ANT. French intransigence led Bourguiba to turn to the United States, which had earlier concluded a bilateral agreement to supply the young republic with economic and technical assistance, and to Britain. Although they were allied with France in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Britain and the United States were willing to supply Tunisia with arms out of concern that Bourguiba might turn to Egypt for assistance.

After settlement of the issue over arms aid, Bourguiba asked the French to evacuate their bases earlier than had been agreed in the pre-independence protocol. Tunisian public support was generated for what Bourguiba termed the "battle for evacuation," and military skirmishes between French and Tunisian forces occurred sporadically. The most serious of these encounters came in 1961 after the French had consolidated their forces at the major military installation in Bizerte. Refusal to evacuate from Bizerte led to an attack on the French base by Neo-Destourian militants, students, and volunteers from the trade unions, youth organizations and women's unions. Organized and directed by the Garde Nationale, the Bizerte confrontation was an ill-conceived and militarily inappropriate venture against professional French troops that resulted in the loss of about 1,000 Tunisian lives, most of them civilians.

Although few ANT regulars were involved - four battalions of 3,200 men had responded earlier to the UN appeal for a peacekeeping force in the Congo crisis of 1960 - the defeat at the hands of the French was regarded by the Tunisian military establishment as a painful humiliation. Nonetheless, the so-called Battle of Bizerte sped the final withdrawal of French troops and ushered in a new era of strategic independence.

Amazing Facts About Tunisia

Greetings in Tunisia | Cross-cultural communication skills

1. General Greeting

Whether between men and men, between women and women, or between men and women, one thing is common to all: a warm handshake. But when between a man and a woman, it is better to let the woman indicate she wants a handshake. However, religiously observant people of the opposite sex never touch each other. It is a taboo.

2. Don’t Ask for Too Much

When Tunisians host you, they are generally gracious and generous. It would amount to taking their graciousness and generosity for granted by asking too much. This is because they hardly ever say NO. But it would put them at a spot. Amazing, isn’t it?

3. Calmly Walk Away

Tunisians are never confrontational even though they are generally direct in their communications style. So be careful not to criticize someone in public. Why? Because, the amazing part is that the person would calmly walk away, thereby putting you and your family to shame.

4. Position of Eye contact

The people love eye contact because it is a sign of respect. But when talking to elders and superiors, avoiding eye contact is a sign of deference and respect. Also, women show respect and politeness by avoiding eye contact especially with men they’ve just met.

5. About Punctuality

Office hours, trains, busses, and planes…these are the only things that run on time in Tunisia, as in all Mediterranean countries. Punctuality is only valued what is amazing is that it is not observed even in business meetings. Time is viewed very loosely.

6. Veiling and Polygamy

Being predominantly Islamic, it is amazing that women veiling at academic institutions, arranged marriages, and polygamy is legally banned in Tunisia. So, if visiting the country with your wife, you have nothing to worry about you wife having to wear a veil. Wow! Is this amazing or what?!

7. Signing Congrats and Bravo

Tunisians have a number of expressions that they do not need to voice. One of them is tipping the hat. It is so commonly used and understood that people do it now even when not wearing a hat. You should learn it. It means “bravo” or “Congrats.”

8. The Thank you/Thank God Gesture

There is a popular way to show gratitude to a person or to God. This too is so common that even when such expression is voiced, the gesture is still performed. You should learn it. You simply place your right hand on your chest. It means “thank you” or “thanks be to God.”

9. No Legal Drinking Age

Beer in Tunisia

Alcohol is forbidden to Muslims. But that is where it stops. You can find alcohol virtually everywhere! And strangely, it is sold to everyone who comes to buy. This is because there is no legal drinking age.

There is also no set minimum age for buying tobacco and cigarettes.

10. Respect Government Officials

One more amazing fact: It is legally obligatory to respect government official. This is one law that even foreigners, especially those from so-called very liberated countries must beware not to flout. Several people are known to have been given long jail terms for cursing at police officers.

The Geography of Tunisia

Total Size: 163,610 square km

Size Comparison: slightly larger than Georgia

Geographical Coordinates: 34 00 N, 9 00 E

World Region or Continent: Africa

General Terrain: mountains in north hot, dry central plain semiarid south merges into the Sahara Desert

Geographical Low Point: Shatt al Gharsah -17 m

Geographical High Point: Jebel ech Chambi 1,544 m

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

Major cities: TUNIS (capital) 759,000 (2009)


The Library of Congress Country Studies include extensive information about all Middle Eastern countries, including historical overviews as well as information about government structure, economics, and demographics.

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Rapping the Revolution

This article talks about the impact of rap on the Arab spring. It ends with an interview with Tunisian Rap star Hamada Ben Amor, also known as El General (see also: Rap Songs of the Arab Spring)

Arab Spring Research Guide: Tunisia

Cornell University Library’s guide to researching the Arab Spring in Tunisia.

Spreading Revolution

David D. Kirkpatrick discusses the six turning points that led to revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt.

TeachMideast: Tunisia

Basic background info on Tunisia.

Tunisia Fact Sheet

A quick fact sheet providing clear information about Tunisia.

Tunisia Facts and Figures

Tunisia facts and figures from the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center

Tunisia in Perspective

This resource from the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center offers a country profile section containing basic facts about the target country, followed by selected themes organized under the major headings of Geography, History, Economy, Society and Security.

Tunisia Travel Guides

Resources for those interested in traveling to Tunisia.

Tunisia: Fundamentalists Disrupting College Campuses

Article on rise of fundamentalism in Tunisia and the fundamentalists’ roles in Tunisian education.

Tunisian Cultural Orientation

Cultural Orientations from the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center offer an engaging introduction to a given cultural group. Linguists and non-linguists alike will benefit from these interactive materials and pertinent language exchanges that are coupled with an objective and practical look at daily life in different contexts. Topics include religion, traditions, family life and differences in the lifestyles of urban and rural populations.

Tunisian Flag

Details about the Tunisian flag.

Tunisian Popular Uprising Puts Arab World on Edge

Info on the nascent stages of the Arab Spring in Tunisia.

U.S. Relations With Tunisia

History of U.S. relations with Tunisia.

Disarming Militias: One Young Tunisian’s Mission (audio)

Joseph Braude shares the story of a young activist who has started a project to improve gun control and reduce violence in Tunisia. Presented by America Abroad.

Footpedia Tunisia Photos (images)

Jadaliyya: Tunisia (text)

A collection of articles about Tunisia posted on Jadaliyya

Jewish life in Tunisia under Ennahda (audio)

As one of the earliest Jewish settlements in the world, Tunisia was home to over 100,000 Jews in the mid-20th century. Today that number is less than 2,000. In this podcast, America Abroad reports from Tunisia on life for those who remain, and their hopes and concerns under the new Islamist regime.

Tunisia News (text)

Current news about Tunisia from the New York Times.

Tunisia through Food (video)

In this video the British-Israeli food writer and restaurant owner, Yotam Ottolenghi travels to Tunisia to explore the country’s well-known chilli sauce harissa, and much more…

Tunisia.com (text)

Tunisia’s primary English language newspaper.

Tunisian News Agency (text)

Tunisian English language newspaper.

Eye on North Africa, from Your Middle East (text)

This column highlights analyses and comments on politics, culture, economy, trending topics and relations in and between Algeria, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia.

Lesson Plan: Revolution in Tunisia

Lesson plan for teaching the about the Tunisian role in the Arab Spring.

Arab Spring Research Guide: Tunisia

Cornell University Library’s guide to researching the Arab Spring in Tunisia.

Sailing the Great Sand Sea

In this unit, students will understand the ways in which North African traders were able to adapt to the harsh environment of the Sahara desert in order to extract natural resources and engage in trans-desert trade for economic gain. They will understand: (1) the factors that define a desert and the different types of deserts (2) that the introduction of the camel to North Africa provided a solution that made trans-Saharan trade possible and (3) the natural resources available in the desert and the advantages to be had from harnessing them.

Content developed by the University of Texas at Austin

Social Media and Non-Violent Protest

This lesson reviews the impact of social media on the 2011 revolution in Egypt and Tunisia.

Materials produced by Greg Timmons for PBS News Hour Extra.

Using “Tunisian Popular Uprising Puts Arab World on Edge” in the Classroom

How to use the Tunisian Popular Uprising Puts Arab World on Edge article as a teaching resource.

U.S. Relations With Tunisia

Tunisia is a strong partner of the United States, and the U.S. Government is proud to support Tunisia in its transition to democracy. In this effort, one of the United States’ priorities is to help Tunisia provide a secure environment conducive to the development of democratic institutions and practices, and to inclusive economic growth. The United States also supports Tunisia as it lays the foundation for political stability and economic prosperity, including efforts to strengthen civil society, empower youth, support economic reform, and create jobs.

The United States was the first major power to recognize Tunisian sovereignty and established diplomatic relations with Tunisia in 1956 following its independence from France. On January 14, 2011, a popular revolution began a process of democratic transition that is still underway. A Constituent Assembly charged with drafting a new constitution was elected in October 2011 in elections that were considered to be free and fair. Tunisia now faces the challenges of strengthening the country’s nascent democratic institutions facilitating constructive popular participation in the national political process creating jobs, especially for youth, women, and college graduates countering the threat of transnational terrorism and spillover from conflicts in neighboring countries and managing increased demands on the national security forces.

U.S. Assistance to Tunisia

Since the January 2011 revolution, the U.S. has committed more than $1.4 billion to support Tunisia’s transition. U.S. assistance to Tunisia focuses on an array of targeted areas that include ensuring and enhancing internal and external security, promoting democratic practices and good governance, and supporting sustainable economic growth.

In 2019 the US and Tunisia signed a five year bilateral Development Objective Agreement for USAID to provide up to $335 million to support increased private sector employment and democratic consolidation.

Bilateral Economic Relations

The United States strongly believes that private sector growth and economic opportunity are keys to Tunisia’s prosperity and long-term stability. The United States and Tunisia signed a Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement and agreement to implement the Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act in 2019, a Science and Technology Agreement in 2014, a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) in 2002, a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) in 1990, and a Tax Convention in 1989. In addition, the two countries launched a high-level Joint Economic Commission (JEC) in 2016. The U.S. Government continues to support Tunisia’s efforts to attract foreign investment. The best prospects for U.S. exports and investments in Tunisia are in the information and communication technology, energy, security, agriculture, franchising, healthcare, and tourism sectors.

Tunisia’s Membership in International Organizations

Tunisia and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization. Tunisia also is a member of the League of Arab States, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and the African Union.

Bilateral Representation

Principal embassy officials are listed in the Department’s Key Officers List.

Tunisia maintains an embassy in the United States at 1515 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20005 (tel. 1-202-862-1850).

More information about Tunisia is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here: