Tunisia, located in central North Africa between Algeria and Libya, is coasted by the Mediterranean Sea strategically close to vital shipping routes for import and export. Due to its natural resources and agricultural capabilities, Tunisia has a diverse economy. Besides the tourism and agriculture sectors, Tunisia’s major industries include manufactured goods and mining, which together account for over 50 percent of the country’s exports.
According to the United Nations Human Development Report, Tunisia is ranked 81 out of 190 countries with comparable data. The country’s Human Development Index rose by 1.5% annually between 1980 and 2010, from 0.436 to 0.683 today. Compared to other Arab states which lay at an average of 0.590, Tunisia is above the regional average. Despite this, high unemployment rates and poor living conditions are among the most prominent issues faced by the country.
In late 2010, Tunisia’s population of over 10 million people began a series of anti-government demonstrations which were fueled by high unemployment rates, food inflation and corruption, among other grievances. Since the Tunisian government was overthrown in January 2011, a trend of civil protests has swept through the region.
Civil protests in neighbouring Libya have been countered by harsh military reprisals which have caused a massive influx of Libyan refugees, Tunisian workers and third country nationals into southern Tunisia.
This has caused a great stress on the country which is currently led by an interim government during this period of political, social and economic transition