Thursday, January 24, 2013

The agricultural sector stands

The agricultural sector stands for 11.6% of the GDP, industry 25.7%, and services 62.8%. The industrial sector is mainly made up of clothing and footwear manufacturing, production of car parts, and electric machinery. Although Tunisia managed an average 5% growth over the last decade it continues to suffer from a high unemployment especially among youth. HP HSTNN-IB83 Battery

Tunisia was in 2009 ranked the most competitive economy in Africa and the 40th in the world by the World Economic Forum.[86]Tunisia has managed to attract many international companies such as Airbus[87] and Hewlett-Packard.Tourism accounted for 7% of GDP and 370,000 jobs in 2009.[89]

The European Union remains Tunisia's first trading partner, currently accounting for 72.5% of Tunisian imports and 75% of Tunisian exports. HP HSTNN-IB88 Battery

Tunisia is a one of the European Union's most established trading partners in the Mediterranean region and ranks as the EU’s 30th largest trading partner. Tunisia was the first Mediterranean country to sign an Association Agreement with the European Union, in July 1995, although even before the date of entry came into force, Tunisia started dismantling tariffs on bilateral EU trade. HP HSTNN-IB89 Battery

Tunisia finalised the tariffs dismantling for industrial products in 2008 and therefore was the first Mediterranean country to enter in a free trade area with EU.[90]

Tunis Sports City is an entire sports city currently being constructed in Tunis, Tunisia. The city that will consist of apartment buildings as well as several sports facilities will be built by the Bukhatir Group at a cost of $5 Billion.[91] HP HSTNN-IB93 Battery

The Tunis Financial harbour will deliver North Africa’s first offshore financial centre at Tunis Bay in a project with an end development value of US$ 3 billion.[92] The Tunis Telecom City is a US$ 3 billion project to create an IT hub in Tunis.

The majority of the electricity used in Tunisia is produced locally, by state-owned company STEG (Société Tunisienne de l´Electricité et du Gaz). HP HSTNN-IB94 Battery

In 2008, a total of 13,747 GWh was produced in the country.[95]

Oil production of Tunisia is about 97,600 barrels per day (15,520 m3/d). The main field is El Bourma.[96]

Oil production began in 1966 in Tunisia. Currently there are 12 oil fields.[97]

Tunisia has plans for two nuclear power stations, to be operational by 2019. HP HSTNN-IB95 Battery

Both facilities are projected to produce 900–1000 MW. France is set to become an important partner in Tunisia's nuclear power plans, having signed an agreement, along with other partners, to deliver training and technology.

The Desertec project is a large-scale energy project aimed at installing solar power panels in northern Africa, with a power line connection between it and southern Europe. HP HSTNN-IBON Battery

Tunisia will be a part of this project, but exactly how it may benefit from this remains to be seen.

The country maintains 19,232 kilometres (11,950 mi) of roads,[84] with the A1 Tunis-Sfax, P1 Tunis-Libya and P7 Tunis-Algeria being the major highways. There are 30 airports in Tunisia, with Tunis Carthage International Airport and Djerba–Zarzis International Airport being the most important ones. HP HSTNN-LB09 Battery

A new airport, Enfidha – Hammamet International Airport, was completed at the end of October 2009 but was delayed in opening and did not open fully until 2011. The airport is located north of Sousse at Enfidha and is to mainly serve the resorts of Hamammet and Port El Kantoui, together with inland cities such as Kairouan. HP HSTNN-LB0W Battery

There are four airlines headquartered in Tunisia: Tunisair, Karthago Airlines, Nouvelair and Tunisair express. The railway network is operated by SNCFT and amounts to 2,135 kilometres (1,327 mi) in total.[84] The Tunis area is served by a tram network, named Metro Leger.

Some 98%of modern native Tunisians are from a sociological, historical and genealogical standpoint mainly of Arab and Berberdescent, HP HSTNN-LB17 Battery

but the overwhelming majority simply identify themselves today as Arabs.[101][102] However, there is also a small (1% at most)[103] population located in the Dahar mountains and on the island of Djerba in the south-east and in the Khroumire mountainous region in the north-west.

From the late 19th century to after World War II, Tunisia was home to large populations of French and Italians (255,000 Europeans in 1956), HP HSTNN-LB31 Battery

although nearly all of them, along with the Jewish population, left after Tunisia became independent. The history of the Jews in Tunisia going back some 2,000 years. In 1948 the Jewish population was an estimated 105,000, but by 2003 only about 1,500 remained.[105]

The first people known to history in what is now Tunisia were the Berbers. HP HSTNN-LB311 Battery

Numerous civilizations and peoples have invaded, migrated to, and been assimilated into the population over the millennia, with influences of population via conquest fromPhoenicians/Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals, Alans, Arabs, Spaniards, Ottoman Turks and Janissaries, and French. There was a continuing inflow of nomadic Arab tribes from Arabia.[27] HP HSTNN-LB33 Battery

Additionally, after the Reconquista and expulsion of non-Christians and Moriscos from Spain, many Spanish Moors and Jews also arrived. According to Matthew Carr, "As many as eighty thousand Moriscos settled in Tunisia, most of them in and around the capital, Tunis, which still contains a quarter known as Zuqaq al-Andalus, or Andalusia Alley." HP HSTNN-LB60 Battery

The majority of Tunisia's population (around 98%) are Muslims while about 1% follow Christianity and the remaining 1% adhere to Judaism or other religions.[84] The bulk of Tunisians belong to the Maliki School of Sunni Islam and their mosques are easily recognizable by square minarets. HP HSTNN-LB72 Battery

However, the Turks brought with them the teaching of the Hanafi School during theOttoman rule which still survives among the Turkish descended families today, their mosques traditionally have octagonal minarets.[107]

Tunisia has a sizable Christian community of around 25,000 adherents, mainly Catholics (22,000) and to a lesser degreeProtestants. HP HSTNN-LB73 Battery

Berber Christians continued to live in Tunisia up until the early 15th century.[108] Judaism is the country's third largest religion with 1,500 members. One-third of the Jewish population lives in and around the capital. The remainder lives on the island of Djerba, with 39 synagogues, and where the Jewish community dates back 2,500 years.[109] HP HSTNN-LB93 Battery

Djerba, an island in the Gulf of Gabès, is home to El Ghriba synagogue, which is one of the oldest synagogues in the world. Many Jews consider it a pilgrimage site, with celebrations taking place there once every year. In fact, Tunisia along with Morocco has been said to be the Arab countries most accepting of their Jewish populations.[110] HP HSTNN-LB94 Battery

The constitution declares Islam as the official state religion and requires the President to be Muslim. Aside from the president, Tunisians enjoy a significant degree of religious freedom, a right enshrined and protected in its constitution, which guarantees the freedom to practice one's religion.[109] HP HSTNN-MB09 Battery

The country has a secular culture that encourages acceptance of other religions and religious freedom. With regards to the freedom of Muslims, the Tunisian government has restricted the wearing of Islamic head scarves (hijab) in government offices and it discourages women from wearing them on public streets and public gatherings. HP HSTNN-MB10 Battery

The government believes the hijab is a "garment of foreign origin having a partisan connotation". There were reports that the Tunisian police harassed men with "Islamic" appearance (such as those with beards), detained them, and sometimes compelled men to shave their beards off.[111] In 2006, the former Tunisian president declared that he would "fight" the hijab, which he refers to as "ethnic clothing".[112] HP HSTNN-OB0F Battery

Individual Tunisians are tolerant of religious freedom and generally do not inquire about a person's personal beliefs.

Arabic is the official language, and Tunisian Arabic, known as Derja, is the local, vernacular variety of Arabic and is used by the public.[113] There is also a small minority of speakers of Shelha, a Berber language.[114] HP HSTNN-OB0L Battery

Due to the former French occupation, French also plays a major role in the country, despite having no official status. It is widely used in education (e.g., as the language of instruction in the sciences in secondary school), the press, and in business. In 2010, there were 6,639,000 French-speakers in Tunisia, or about 64% of the population.[115] HP HSTNN-OB0X Battery

Italian is understood and spoken by a small part of the Tunisian population.

The culture of Tunisia is mixed due to their long established history of conquerors such as Phoenicians, Romans, Vandals, Byzantines, Arabs, Turks, Spaniards, and the French who all left their mark on the country. HP HSTNN-OB0Y Battery

The birth of a Tunisian contemporary painting is strongly linked to the School of Tunis, established by a group of artists from Tunisia with united by the desire to incorporate native themes and rejecting the influence of Orientalist colonial painting. It was founded in 1949 and brings together French and Tunisian Muslims, Christians and Jews. HP HSTNN-OB17 Battery

Pierre Boucherle was its main instigator, along with Yahia Turki, Abdelaziz Gorgi, Moses Levy, Ammar Farhat and Jules Lellouche. Given its doctrine, some members have therefore turned to the sources of aesthetic Arab-Muslim art: such as miniature Islamic architecture, etc. HP HSTNN-OB20 Battery

Expressionist paintings by Amara Debbache, Jellal Ben Abdallah and Ali Ben Salem are recognized while abstract art captures the imagination of painters like Edgar Naccache, Nello Levy and Hedi Turki.[117]

After independence in 1956, the art movement in Tunisia was propelled by the dynamics of nation building and by artists serving the state. HP HSTNN-OB31 Battery

A Ministry of Culture was established, under the leadership of ministers such as Habib Boularès who saw art and education and power.[117] Artists gained international recognition such as Hatem El Mekki or Zoubeir Turki and influenced a generation of new young painters. Sadok Gmech draws his inspiration from national wealth while Moncef Ben Amorturns to fantasy. HP HSTNN-OB37 Battery

In another development, Youssef Rekik reused the technique of painting on glass and founded Nja Mahdaoui calligraphy with its mystical dimension.[117]

There are currently fifty art galleries housing exhibitions of Tunisian and international artists.[118] These galleries include Gallery Yahia in Tunis and Carthage Essaadi gallery. HP HSTNN-OB38 Battery

Tunisian literature exists in two forms: Arabic and French. Arabic literature dates back to the seventh century with the arrival of Arab civilization in the region. It is more important in both volume and value than French literature, introduced during the French protectorate from 1881.[119] HP HSTNN-OB41 Battery

Among the literary figures include Douagi Ali, who has produced more than 150 radio stories, over 500 poems and folk songs and nearly 15 plays,[120] Khraief Bashir, an Arabic novelist who published many notable books in the 1930s and which caused a scandal because the dialogues were written in Tunisian dialect,[120] HP HSTNN-OB42 Battery

and others such asMoncef Ghachem, Mohamed Salah Ben Mrad or Mahmoud Messaadi. As for poetry, Tunisian poetry typically opts for nonconformity and innovation with poets such asAboul-Qacem Echebbi. As for literature in French, it is characterized by its critical approach. HP HSTNN-OB45 Battery

Contrary to the pessimism of Albert Memmi, who predicted that literature Tunisian was sentenced to die young,[121] a high number of Tunisian writers are abroad including Abdelwahab Meddeb, Bakri Tahar, Mustapha Tlili, Hele Beji or Mellah Fawzi. The themes of wandering, exile and heartbreak are the focus of their creative writing. HP HSTNN-OB51 Battery

The national bibliography lists 1249 non-school books published in 2002 in Tunisia, with 885 titles in Arabic.[122] In 2006 this figure had increased to 1,500 and 1,700 in 2007.[123] Nearly a third of the books are published for children. HP HSTNN-OB60 Battery

At the beginning of twentieth century, musical activity was dominated by the liturgical repertoire associated with different religious brotherhoods and secular repertoire which consisted of instrumental pieces and songs in different Andalusian forms and styles of origins, essentially borrowing characteristics of musical language. HP HSTNN-OB71 Battery

In 1930 "The Rachidia" was founded well known thanks to artists from the Jewish community. The founding in 1934 of a musical school help revive Arab Andalusian music largely to a social and cultural revival led by the elite of the time who became aware of the risks of loss of the musical heritage and which they believed theatened the foundations of Tunisian national identity. HP HSTNN-OB75 Battery

The institution did not take long to assemble an elite group of musicians and poets and scholars. The creation of Radio Tunis in 1938 allowed musicians are greater opportunity to disseminate their works.

The 1960s and 1970s witnessed the emergence of composers and performers working mostly in the orchestra of the Tunisian Radio and Television. HP HSTNN-OB75 Battery

Song using melodies and popular rhythms experienced a significant rise. From the 1980s, the music scene saw the emergence of a generation of musicians, composers and performers of Arab and Western musical training who believed that Tunisian music needed new song writing techniques. HP HSTNN-OB89 Battery

The emergence of new patterns of racial and improvised music since the late 1990s changed the musical landscape of Tunisia. At the same time, the majority of the population is attracted by the music of Arab origin (Egyptian, Lebanese or Syrian). Popular western music has also had major success with the emergence of many groups and festivals, including rock music, hip-hop, reggae and jazz. HP HSTNN-OB91 Battery

Among the major Tunisian contemporary artists include Hedi Habbouba, Saber Rebai, Dhafer Youssef, Belgacem Bouguenna, Sonia M'Barek and Latifa. Other notable musicians include Salah El Mahdi, Anouar Brahem, Zied Gharsa and Lotfi Bouchnak.

The TV media has long remained under the domination of the Establishment of the Broadcasting Authority Tunisia (ERTT) and its predecessor, the Tunisian Radio and Television, founded in 1957. HP HSTNN-OB93 Battery

On November 7, 2006, President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali announced the demerger of the business, which became effective on August 31, 2007. Until then, ERTT managed all public television stations (Télévision Tunisienne 1 and Télévision Tunisienne 2, which had replaced the defunct RTT 2) and four national radio stations (Radio Tunis, Tunisia Radio Culture, Youth and Radio RTCI) HP HSTNN-OB94 Battery

and five regional Sfax, Monastir, Gafsa, Le Kef and Tataouine. Most programs are in Arabic but some are in French. Since 2003, a growth in private sector broadcasting is underway, witnessing the creation of Radio Mosaique FM,Jawhara FM and Zaytuna FM and Hannibal TV and Nessma TV. HP HSTNN-Q08C Battery

In 2007, some 245 newspapers and magazines (compared to only 91 in 1987) are 90% owned by private groups and independents.[124] The Tunisian political parties have the right to publish their own newspapers, but those of the opposition parties have very limited editions (like Al Mawkif or Mouwatinoun). HP HSTNN-Q09C Battery

Freedom of the press is guaranteed by the constitution although almost all newspapers following the government line report without critical approach to the activities of the president, government and the Constitutional Democratic Rally Party (in power) through the Agence Tunis Afrique Presse. HP HSTNN-Q21C Battery

Several private radio stations have been established, including Mosaique FM, Shems FM[125] and private television stations such as Hannibal TV and Nessma TV.

Football is the most popular sport in Tunisia. The Tunisia national football team, also known as "The Eagles of Carthage," won the 2004 African Cup of Nations (ACN), which was held in Tunisia. HP HSTNN-Q22C Battery

They also represented Africa in the 2005 FIFA Cup of Confederations, which was held in Germany, but they could not go beyond the first round. The Eagles of Carthage have participated in four World Cup Championships.

The premier football league is the "Tunisian Ligue Professionnelle 1". HP HSTNN-Q33C Battery

The main clubs are Espérance Sportive de Tunis, Club Africain, Club Sportif Sfaxien and Étoile Sportive du Sahel. The first team participated in the 2011 World Cup for clubs and finished in the Second Match, in which it was eliminated by Sadd Sports Club from Qatar.

The Tunisia national handball team has participated in several handball world championships. HP HSTNN-Q34C Battery

In 2005, Tunisia came fourth. The national league consists of about 12 teams, with ES. Sahel and Esperance S.Tunis dominating. The most famous Tunisian handball player is Wissem Hmam. In the 2005 Handball Championship in Tunis, Wissem Hmam was ranked as the top scorer of the tournament. HP HSTNN-Q35C Battery

The Tunisian national handball team won the African Cup eight times, being the team dominating this competition. The Tunisians won the 2010 African Cup in Egypt by defeating the host country.[129]

In boxing, Victor Perez ("Young") was world champion in the flyweight weight class in 1931 and 1932.[130] HP HSTNN-Q44C Battery

In the 2008 Summer Olympics, Tunisian Oussama Mellouli won a gold medal in 1500m freestyle.[131] In the 2012 Summer Olympics, he won a bronze medal in the 1500m freestyle and a gold medal in the 15km marathon totaling 3 Olympic medals in his life.

The adult literacy rate in 2008 was 77.6%.[132] HP HSTNN-Q61C Battery

Education is given a high priority and accounts for 6% of GNP. A basic education for children between the ages of 6 and 16 has been compulsory since 1991. Tunisia ranked 17th in the category of "quality of the [higher] educational system" and 21st in the category of "quality of primary education" in The Global Competitiveness Report 2008-9, released by The World Economic Forum.[133] HP HSTNN-Q62C Battery

While children generally acquire Tunisian Arabic at home, when they enter school at age 6, they are taught to read and write in Standard Arabic. From the age of 8, they are taught French while English is introduced at the age of 12.

Tunisia is in the process of economic reform and liberalization after decades of heavy state direction and participation in the economy. HP HSTNN-UB02 Battery

Prudent economic and fiscal planning have resulted in moderate but sustained growth for over a decade. Tunisia's economic growth historically has depended on oil, phosphates, agri-food products, car parts manufacturing, and tourism. In the World Economic Forum 2008/2009 Global Competitiveness Report, the country ranks first in Africa and 36th globally for economic competitiveness, well ahead of Portugal (43), Italy (49) and Greece (67). HP HSTNN-UB09 Battery

Current GDP per capita soared by more than 380% in the Seventies (1970–1980: USD 280–1,369). But this proved unsustainable and it collapsed to a cumulative 10% growth in the turbulent Eighties (1980–1990: USD 1,369–1,507), rising again to almost 50% cumulative growth in the Nineties (1990–2000: USD 1,507–2,245), signifying the impact of successful diversification.[6] HP HSTNN-UB0G Battery

This is a chart of trend of gross domestic product of Tunisia (estimated) by the International Monetary Fund with figures in millions of Tunisian Dinars.

For purchasing power parity comparisons, the US Dollar is exchanged at 0.44 Tunisian Dinars only. Mean wages were $4.17 per manhour in 2009. HP HSTNN-UB17 Battery

Growing foreign debt and the foreign exchange crisis in the mid-1980s. In 1986, the government launched astructural adjustment program to liberalize prices, reduce tariffs, and reorient Tunisia toward a market economy.

Tunisia's economic reform program has been lauded as a model by international financial institutions. HP HSTNN-UB33 Battery

The government has liberalized prices, reduced tariffs, lowered debt-service-to-exports and debt-to-GDP ratios, and extended the average maturity of its $10 billion foreign debt. Structural adjustment brought additional lending from the World Bank and other Western creditors. In 1990, Tunisia acceded to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). HP HSTNN-UB37 Battery

In 1996 Tunisia entered into an "Association Agreement" with the European Union (EU) which removes tariff and other trade barriers on most goods by 2008. In conjunction with the Association Agreement, the EU is assisting the Tunisian government's Mise A Niveau (upgrading) program to enhance the productivity of Tunisian businesses and prepare for competition in the global marketplace. HP HSTNN-UB41 Battery

The government has totally or partially privatized around 160 state-owned enterprises since the privatizationprogram was launched in 1987. Although the program is supported by the GATT, the government has had to move carefully to avoid mass firings. Unemployment continues to plague Tunisia's economy and is aggravated by a rapidly growing work force. HP HSTNN-UB69 Battery

An estimated 55% of the population is under the age of 25. Officially, 14% of the Tunisian work force is unemployed.

In 1992, Tunisia re-entered the private international capital market for the first time in 6 years, securing a $10-million line of credit for balance-of-payments support. HP HSTNN-UB72 Battery

In January 2003 Standard & Poor's affirmed its investment grade credit ratings for Tunisia. The World Economic Forum 2002-03 ranked Tunisia 34th in the Global Competitiveness Index Ratings (two places behind South Africa, the continent's leader). In April 2002, Tunisia's first US dollar-denominated sovereign bond issue since 1997 raised $458 million, with maturity in 2012.

The Bourse de Tunis is under the control of the state-run Financial Market Council and lists over 50 companies. The government offers substantial tax incentives to encourage companies to join the exchange, and expansion is occurring.

The Tunisian government adopted a unified investment code in 1993 to attract foreign capital. HP HSTNN-UB73 Battery

More than 1,600 export-oriented joint venture firms operate in Tunisia to take advantage of relatively low labor costs and preferential access to nearby European markets. Economic links are closest with European countries, which dominate Tunisia's trade. Tunisia's currency, the dinar, is not traded outside Tunisia. HP HSTNN-UBOL Battery

However, partial convertibility exists for bonafide commercial and investment transaction. Certain restrictions still limit operations carried out by Tunisian residents.

The stock market capitalisation of listed companies in Tunisia was valued at $5.3 Billion in 2007, 15% of 2007 GDP, by the World Bank[1]. HP HSTNN-W20C Battery

For 2007, foreign direct investment totaled TN Dinar 2 billion in 2007, or 5.18% of the total volume of investment in the country. This figure is up 35.7% from 2006 and includes 271 new foreign enterprises and the expansion of 222 others already based in the country.

The economic growth rate seen for 2007, at 6.3% is the highest achieved in a decade. HP HSTNN-W26C Battery

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