Geographical Location of Tunisia
Tunisia borders Algeria to the west, Libya to the east and the Mediterranean to the north. Tunisia has a varied landscape and nature. The northwest is dominated by the Atlas Mountains, covered in forest in several places. The area is home to the fertile Medjerda Valley, the country's most important agricultural region. In the north of the country there is a wetland area listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The middle part of the country consists of steppe landscapes, mountain plateaus and salt lakes. In the south the landscape turns into desert, and in the southwest the Sahara Desert begins. The climate ranges from a Mediterranean climate with dry summers and wet winters in the north and along the coast to a desert climate with almost no rainfall in the south.
The country's biggest environmental problems are the release of toxins into the environment due to poor waste management and water pollution due to poor wastewater treatment. Other environmental problems include deforestation, overgrazing, soil erosion and desertification. Tunisia also has limited access to fresh water and is therefore prone to droughts. Some of the most common natural disasters to hit Tunisia in recent years have been floods, landslides and earthquakes.
Brief History of Tunisia
Traces of civilizations have been discovered in the area that can be dated back to the Stone Age. Later, around 3000 BC, Berbers immigrated to the area. They are considered the indigenous population of Tunisia.
The Phoenicians settled in Tunisia in the 8th century BC. The Phoenicians traded and founded the city-state of Carthage, which became an economic and military power. Carthage was incorporated into the Roman Empire around 150 BC. and became the headquarters of the Roman province of Africa. The rise of Islam spread to North Africa in the 6th century and ended with the fall of Carthage in 698.
From 1207, the Berber family took over the country and founded a dynasty that lasted until 1574, when the country became part of the Ottoman Empire. A separate family dynasty, the Hussein dynasty, ruled the Ottoman Empire until 1881. The country then came under French rule. French rule over the country continued until Tunisia gained independence in 1956.
After independence, the monarchy was abolished and the country became a republic. The lack of a functioning democracy led the country to a long period of dictatorship and economic decline. The dictatorship lasted until 2011, when the Tunisian revolution took place. The revolution, also called the Jasmine Revolution, was a nonviolent uprising against the regime that arose as a result of poor social conditions in the country. Large demonstrations and riots were met with police violence, and many hundreds of people died in the riots that followed. The uprising is considered the beginning of the Arab Spring, and protests spread to other countries in the region who also wanted regime change. The uprising forced the dictator to resign and a new popularly elected government was installed. A new democratic constitution was also adopted and put into effect in 2014. Tunisia remains the most successful example of the Arab Spring.
Society and Politics of Tunisia
After years of one-party rule and dictatorship, Tunisia adopted a new constitution in 2014. It provides that a popularly elected president and prime minister share executive power. The President and Parliament are elected every five years. The President is responsible for the country's security and foreign policy. The Prime Minister is elected by the President and is responsible for domestic policy.
The country is considered the most democratic country in the Arab part of the world. Women and men have equal rights. Despite the country's democratization and new changes in the law, the country is struggling with high unemployment and has yet to establish a Constitutional Court created in 2014.
Economy and Trade of Tunisia
The economic problems in Tunisia are enormous. Corruption and high unemployment, especially among youth, are a big problem. Social unrest and a series of terrorist attacks, including on the country's tourism industry and tourists, are leading to uncertainty and slowing economic growth. The results of the government's promises of new and improved economic development can await.
The country has good prospects for economic growth in agriculture and commodity exports. But recent unrest, as well as widespread corruption, means the country is attracting less foreign investment than before. Agriculture is the industry that employs the most people, but production is not very modernized and depends on good weather. The most important exports are phosphates and petroleum. Services account for the majority of the country's gross domestic product.
After the social and political unrest of 2011-2015, the country took out large loans from the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the African Development Bank. This has resulted in the country having a high external debt that will take a long time to repay.