Tunisia in brief
Major cities: Sfax, Sousse, Ettadhamen-Mnihla, Kairouan
Official languages: Arabic
Population: About 11 million
Religion: Mostly Muslim
Area: 163,610 square kilometers (63,170 square miles)
Number of Korean expats: About 240
Partners in democratization
Since diplomatic ties were established in 1969, Tunisia and Korea have maintained a solid friendship based on mutual cooperation. After the outbreak of the Tunisian Revolution on Jan. 14, 2011, Korea has consistently offered support to Tunisia in its endeavors toward political transition and democratization. Three parliamentary delegations from Korea visited Tunisia in the last five years to express full-on political support for this process. The political support is expected to extend to the economic transition process in Tunisia.
A diversifying exchange
Based on statistics from 2015, the volume of trade exchange between the two countries is around $350 million. Compared to the past, the trade account is becoming more balanced, and exchanged items more diversified. From Tunisia, the following are mainly exported: petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals; aluminum waste and scraps; fish fillets and other fish meat; men’s and boys’ suits and ensembles; and women’s and girls’ garments. From Korea, the following are chiefly exported: cars and motor vehicles; compounds with other nitrogen functions; tractors; and instruments and appliances used in medical, surgical, dental and veterinary sciences.
Korea’s helping hand
The Korean government has been accompanying development efforts in Tunisia since the early 1990s through the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA). KOICA has technically and financially led various initiatives in Tunisia with a special focus on agriculture, ICT, energy and the environment. Since 2011, KOICA has supported transparency, good governance and e-governance.
Kalthoum Khanteche Nafti
Born in 1965, Nafti holds a master’s degree in economic science and management from The University of Tunis. She served as a project manager at the Arab Tunisian Bank in Tunis. As the wife of a career diplomat, Nafti has helped her husband promote Tunisian culture as a member of several cultural associations and diplomatic clubs. In Seoul, Nafti has been particularly active in the Seoul International Women’s Association, Korean Culture Association, World Masters Committee and bazaars hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Mohamed Ali Nafti
Ambassador Mohamed Ali Nafti has served as Tunisia’s top diplomat in Seoul since November 2012. Before his current post, Nafti headed the Information and Communication Department of Tunisia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and served as executive of the minister’s office and attache of the diplomatic department at the presidential office. Abroad, Nafti served as charge d’affaires at the Tunisian Embassy in Madrid, Spain; minister-counsellor in Athens, Greece; and first secretary in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Born in 1959, Nafti graduated from the Bourguiba Institute of Modern Languages at The University of Tunis, with a focus on Arabic, French, English and Spanish.