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Country Reports

Tunisia Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

The results of the October 2019 presidential and parliamentary elections reflected a popular rejection of the governing coalition and of Tunisia’s post-revolution political system structured around an Islamist-secular divide. Negotiations to form a new government are likely to take months and require strong compromises between political factions, as no political party secured a working majority.An unemployment rate at 15.5%, an annual inflation rate at about 7.4%, and austerity measures will remain triggers for violent protests. Labour unrest is likely in key public and private sectors, such as phosphates and transport.The main terrorism threats stem from Islamic State sympathisers and militants attempting to infiltrate the country from Libya, and Al-Qaeda's affiliate Katibat Uqba Ibn Nafaa. The return of Tunisian jihadists from Libya is likely to contribute to a high risk of terrorist attacks targeting security and government assets throughout 2019. The Islamic State retains the aspiration to target the tourism industry, but the group’s operational capabilities have diminished following security forces’ counter-terrorism initiatives. The economy has improved: real GDP growth should accelerate from 2.6% in 2018, which remains well below potential, to 3.0% and 3.3% in 2019 and 2020, respectively, although downside risks could still derail the uneven outlook. Notably, renewed terrorist attacks would decimate the revived tourism industry; socioeconomic unrest could further disrupt the phosphate and hydrocarbon industries, and a European downturn would weigh on exports and inward remittances. Restrictions on foreign investment are likely to be reduced in line with International Monetary Fund (IMF) recommendations, although corruption and bureaucratic inefficiency remains a hindrance to foreign operators investing in specific projects, particularly those involving public works. The IMF has proven to be fairly lenient on missed programme objectives; however, broad adherence to the IMF’s Extended Fund Facility remains critical to unlocking concessional financing from a number of bilateral and multilateral partners.
Last update: October 23, 2019

Operational Outlook

Restrictions on foreign investment are likely to be reduced in line with International Monetary Fund (IMF) recommendations. The increased level of operational risk prompted by the 2011 popular uprising has persisted, including a substantial uptick in labour strikes, primarily affecting the public sector. Infrastructure is of generally high quality. Corruption and bureaucratic inefficiency remains a hindrance to foreign operators investing in specific projects, particularly those involving public works. The government will probably face major bureaucratic resistance to promoting improvements in these areas, ensuring progress will be slow in 2019.

Last update: July 19, 2019

Terrorism

Very high

Tunisia's security framework was substantially weakened by the 2011 revolution and has only slowly been restored. The army has struggled to cover the resulting shortfall in security capacity. Of particular concern remains control over the porous borders with Algeria and Libya. Domestic militant networks, small cells, and self-radicalised individuals have benefited from easy access to the experience of foreign jihadists based in Iraq, Libya, and Syria. The likely return of Tunisian jihadists from Libya will maintain the high risk of terrorist attacks throughout 2019.

Last update: July 16, 2019

Crime

Overall crime rates are low and violent offences are rare, although theft is a problem. Tourists and business travellers are a particular target for pick pocketing and small-scale swindles. Tunisia is also increasingly being used by people smuggling networks as a transit point for immigrants attempting to reach Europe, and drug trafficking is an issue of concern. Weapon trafficking via Tunisia from Libya and the Sahel is a serious problem for domestic security, providing aspiring jihadists with a ready supply of weaponry with which to launch attacks.

Last update: August 9, 2019

War Risks

Tunisia's relations with neighbouring countries are generally good, and interstate war is extremely unlikely in the five-year outlook. Following the disbandment of the former state security apparatus, the army has taken a larger role in Tunisia's internal security. This includes policing Tunisia's desert border areas against smugglers and jihadist militants; maintaining security at strategic locations such as ports, airports, and embassies; and preventing disruption and damage during outbreaks of political and labour unrest at energy assets. The army's small size means that it is ill-equipped to conclusively deal with persisting jihadist activity near the Algerian and Libyan borders.

Last update: August 9, 2019

Social Stability

Very high

There is a severe risk of outbreaks of economically motivated protest, particularly in the interior and southern governorates of Ben Gardane, Gafsa, Kasserine, Kef, Medenine, Sidi Bouzid, and Tataouine. Although most incidents will probably be largely peaceful, there is the potential for demonstrations to be hijacked by disruptive elements, prompting low-level fighting with the police and the destruction of urban property . There is a lower risk of violent mass protests in the major urban centres, including Tunis, where demonstrations are generally peaceful.

Last update: July 19, 2019

Health Risk

Very high

Routine Vaccinations

Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.

Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.

Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).

Other Vaccinations

Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).

Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).

For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Transportation

Elevated

Road safety throughout the country poses significant risks to foreign travelers due to erratic driving habits. There is little adherence to the rules of the road, including a lack of lane discipline and awareness of right of way. Roads are generally in good condition throughout the country, but driving conditions can deteriorate quickly after periods of heavy rain. Roads in rural areas are less maintained. According to the Ministry of the Interior, more than 7100 road accidents (resulting in 1400 deaths and 10,000 injuries) were recorded in 2015. Travelers may come across security checkpoints (particularly near border areas), and are advised to approach slowly. Be prepared to present proof of identity if required, and comply with requests. Demonstrations can occasionally impact road travel.

Travelers should exercise caution when using public transportation due to safety and security concerns. Rail travel is generally safe, although safety standards tend to be lower than those in European and North American countries. It should be noted that travel via train between Tunis and Algiers (Algeria) is often unreliable due to political and security issues. Visits to the Sahara Desert require prior authorization from authorities. Developments in Libya continue to affect the security situation at the ports of entry at Ras Jedir and Dehiba, along with the cities of Ben Guerdane and Medenine. The Libyan border is frequently closed to all traffic for extended periods with short notice. Travelers are advised to avoid all travel to and through the Libyan border without necessary security provisions. 

The UK government has announced that passengers flying non-stop to the United Kingdom from Tunisia will be banned from transporting any electronic device larger than a standard-sized smartphone (16 cm x 9.3 cm x 1.5 cm / 6.3 in x 3.5 in x 0.6 in) in carry-on luggage. This includes laptops, tablets, e-readers, cameras, DVD players, and video games, which will have to be stowed in checked luggage for the duration of the flight.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information

Climate

The weather during the spring months is pleasant throughout the country, with periodical showers in the north. Temperatures in the Sahara region are higher but nights are cool. In the summer, ocean winds lower temperatures along the coast. Inland in the south of the country temperatures tend to be very high. Temperatures in autumn are more pleasant and the first rains of the season come in November.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +216
Police: 197
UAS: 190
SOS Doctors: 71 744 215
Ambulance: 71 725 555 or 599 900

Electricity

Voltage: 230 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: April 5, 2019