Suriname( South America )

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First explored by the Spaniards in the 16th century and then settled by the English in the mid-17th century, Suriname became a Dutch colony in 1667. With the abolition of African slavery in 1863, workers were brought in from India and Java. Independence from the Netherlands was granted in 1975. Five years later the civilian government was replaced by a military regime that soon declared a socialist republic. It continued to exert control through a succession of nominally civilian administrations until 1987, when international pressure finally forced a democratic election. In 1990, the military overthrew the civilian leadership, but a democratically elected government - a four-party coalition - returned to power in 1991. The coalition expanded to eight parties in 2005 and ruled until August 2010, when voters returned former military leader Desire BOUTERSE and his opposition coalition to power.
Northern South America, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between French Guiana and Guyana
Geographic coordinates:
4 00 N, 56 00 W
total: 163,820 sq km
land: 156,000 sq km
water: 7,820 sq km
Area comparative:
slightly larger than Georgia
Land boundaries:
total: 1,703 km
border countries: Brazil 593 km, French Guiana 510 km, Guyana 600 km
386 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
tropical; moderated by trade winds
mostly rolling hills; narrow coastal plain with swamps
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: unnamed location in the coastal plain -2 m
highest point: Juliana Top 1,230 m
Natural resources:
timber, hydropower, fish, kaolin, shrimp, bauxite, gold, and small amounts of nickel, copper, platinum, iron ore
Land use:
arable land: 0.36%
permanent crops: 0.04%
other: 99.6% (2011)
Irrigated land:
511.8 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources:
122 cu km (2011)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic or industrial or agricultural):
total: 0.67 cu km/yr (6%/4%/90%)
per capita: 1,396 cu m/yr (2006)
Natural hazards:
Environment current issues:
deforestation as timber is cut for export; pollution of inland waterways by small-scale mining activities
Environment international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography note:
smallest independent country on South American continent; mostly tropical rain forest; great diversity of flora and fauna that, for the most part, is increasingly threatened by new development; relatively small population, mostly along the coast
People and Society
noun: Surinamer(s)
adjective: Surinamese
Ethnic groups:
Hindustani (also known locally as "East Indians"; their ancestors emigrated from northern India in the latter part of the 19th century) 37%, Creole (mixed white and black) 31%, Javanese 15%, "Maroons" (their African ancestors were brought to the country in the 17th and 18th centuries as slaves and escaped to the interior) 10%, Amerindian 2%, Chinese 2%, white 1%, other 2%
Dutch (official), English (widely spoken), Sranang Tongo (Surinamese, sometimes called Taki-Taki, is native language of Creoles and much of the younger population and is lingua franca among others), Caribbean Hindustani (a dialect of Hindi), Javanese
Hindu 27.4%, Protestant 25.2% (predominantly Moravian), Roman Catholic 22.8%, Muslim 19.6%, indigenous beliefs 5%
573,311 (July 2014 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 26.2% (male 76,565/female 73,676)
15-24 years: 17.6% (male 51,322/female 49,313)
25-54 years: 44.1% (male 128,620/female 124,034)
55-64 years: 6.5% (male 18,140/female 19,158)
65 years and over: 5.6% (male 14,041/female 18,442) (2014 est.)
Dependency ratios:
total dependency ratio: 50.7 %
youth dependency ratio: 40.6 %
elderly dependency ratio: 10.1 %
potential support ratio: 9.9 (2014 est.)
Median age:
total: 28.6 years
male: 28.3 years
female: 29 years (2014 est.)
Population growth rate:
1.12% (2014 est.)
Birth rate:
16.73 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)
Death rate:
6.13 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)
Net migration rate:
0.57 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)
urban population: 69.7% of total population (2011)
rate of urbanization: 1.44% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major urban areas population:
PARAMARIBO (capital) 278,000 (2011)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.77 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2014 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 27.07 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 31.5 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 22.41 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)
Maternal mortality rate:
130 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 71.69 years
male: 69.31 years
female: 74.18 years (2014 est.)
Total fertility rate:
2.01 children born/woman (2014 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate:
45.6% (2006)
Health expenditures:
5.3% of GDP (2011)
Physicians density:
0.91 physicians/1,000 population (2004)
Hospital bed density:
3.1 beds/1,000 population (2010)
Drinking water source:
improved: urban: 98.1% of population
rural: 88.4% of population
total: 95.2% of population
unimproved: urban: 1.9% of population
rural: 11.6% of population
total: 4.8% of population (2012 est.)
Sanitation facility access:
improved: urban: 88.4% of population
rural: 61.4% of population
total: 80.3% of population
unimproved: urban: 11.6% of population
rural: 38.6% of population
total: 19.7% of population (2012 est.)
HIV or AIDS adult prevalence rate:
1.1% (2012 est.)
HIV or AIDS people living with HIV or AIDS:
4,000 (2012 est.)
HIV or AIDS deaths:
100 (2012 est.)
Obesity adult prevalence rate:
25.1% (2008)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight:
5.8% (2010)
Education expenditures:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 94.7%
male: 95.4%
female: 94% (2010 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 12 years
male: 11 years
female: 13 years (2002)
Child labor children ages 5-14:
total number: 6,094
percentage: 6 % (2006 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24:
total: 21.5% (2004)
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Suriname
conventional short form: Suriname
local long form: Republiek Suriname
local short form: Suriname
former: Netherlands Guiana, Dutch Guiana
Government type:
constitutional democracy
name: Paramaribo
geographic coordinates: 5 50 N, 55 10 W
time difference: UTC-3 (2 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:
10 districts (distrikten, singular - distrikt); Brokopondo, Commewijne, Coronie, Marowijne, Nickerie, Para, Paramaribo, Saramacca, Sipaliwini, Wanica
25 November 1975 (from the Netherlands)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 25 November (1975)
previous 1975; latest ratified 30 September 1987, effective 30 October 1987; amended 1992; note - in 2012, the president appointed a commission to revise the constitution (2012)
Legal system:
civil law system influenced by Dutch civil law; note - the Commissie Nieuw Surinaamse Burgerlijk Wetboek completed drafting a new civil code in February 2009
International law organization participation:
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Desire Delano BOUTERSE (since 12 August 2010); Vice President Robert AMEERALI (since 12 August 2010); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Desire Delano BOUTERSE (since 12 August 2010); Vice President Robert AMEERALI (since 12 August 2010)
cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers appointed by the president
elections: president and vice president elected by the National Assembly or, if no presidential or vice presidential candidate receives a two-thirds constitutional majority in the National Assembly after two votes, by a simple majority in the larger United People's Assembly (893 representatives from the national, local, and regional councils), for five-year terms (no term limits); election last held on 19 July 2010 (next to be held in 2015)
election results: Desire Delano BOUTERSE elected president; percent of vote - Desire Delano BOUTERSE 70.6%, Chandrikapersad SATOKHI 25.5%, other 3.9%
Legislative branch:
unicameral National Assembly or Nationale Assemblee (51 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held on 25 May 2010 (next to be held in May 2015)
election results: percent of vote by party - Mega Combination 45.1%, New Front 27.5%, A-Com 13.7%, People's Alliance 11.8%, DOE 1.9%; seats by party - Mega Combination 23, New Front 14, A-Com 7, People's Alliance 6, DOE 1
Judicial branch:
highest court(s): High Court of Justice of Suriname (consists of the court president, vice president, and 4 judges)
note - Suriname can appeal beyond its High Court to the Caribbean Court of Justice, with final appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London)
judge selection and term of office: court judges appointed by the national president after consultation with the High Court; judges appointed for life
subordinate courts: cantonal courts
Political parties and leaders:
A-Combination (a coalition that includes the General Liberation and Development Party ABOP [Ronnie BRUNSWIJK], and SEEKA [Paul ABENA])
Basic Party for Renewal and Democracy or BVD [Dilip SARDJOE]
Basic Party for Renewal and Democracy or PVF [Soedeschand JAIRAM]
Democratic Union Suriname or DUS [Japhet DIEKO]
Mega Combination Coalition (a coalition that joined with A-Combination and the PL to form a majority in Parliament in 2010 - includes the National Democratic Party or NDP [Desire Delano BOUTERSE] (largest party in the coalition), Progressive Worker and Farmer's Union or PALU [Jim HOK], Party for National Unity and Solidarity of the Highest Order or KTPI [Willy SOEMITA], DNP-2000 [Jules WIJDENBOSCH], Union of Brotherhood and Unity in Politics BEP [Caprino ALENDY], and New Suriname or NS [Nanan PANDAY])
National Union or NU [P. VAN LEEUWAARDE]
New Front for Democracy and Development or NF (a coalition made up of the National Party of Suriname or NPS [Runaldo VENETIAAN], United Reform Party or VHP [Ramdien SARDJOE], Democratic Alternative 1991 or DA-91 - an independent, business-oriented party [Winston JESSURUN], Surinamese Labor Party or SPA [Siegfried GILDS])
Party for Democracy and Development in Unity or DOE [Carl BREEVELD]
Party for the Permanent Prosperity Republic Suriname or PVRS
People's Alliance, Pertjaja Luhur's or PL [Paul SOMOHARDJO](includes D-21 [Soewarta MOESTADJA] and Pendawa Lima [Raymond SAPEON], which merged with PL in 2010)
note: BVD and PVF participated in the elections as a coalition (BVD/PVF) in the most recent elections, but separated after the election
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Association of Indigenous Village Chiefs [Ricardo PANE]
Association of Saramaccan Authorities or Maroon [Head Captain WASE]
Women's Parliament Forum or PVF [Iris GILLIAD]
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Subhas-Chandra MUNGRA (since 28 January 2011)
chancery: Suite 460, 4301 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 244-7488
FAX: [1] (202) 244-5878
consulate(s) general: Miami
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Jay N. ANANIA (since 1 October 2012)
embassy: Dr. Sophie Redmondstraat 129, Paramaribo
mailing address: US Department of State, PO Box 1821, Paramaribo
telephone: [597] 472-900
FAX: [597] 410-972
Flag description:
five horizontal bands of green (top, double width), white, red (quadruple width), white, and green (double width); a large, yellow, five-pointed star is centered in the red band; red stands for progress and love; green symbolizes hope and fertility; white signifies peace, justice, and freedom; the star represents the unity of all ethnic groups; from its yellow light the nation draws strength to bear sacrifices patiently while working toward a golden future
National symbol(s):
National anthem:
name: "God zij met ons Suriname!" (God Be With Our Suriname)
lyrics/music: Cornelis Atses HOEKSTRA and Henry DE ZIEL/Johannes Corstianus DE PUY
note: adopted 1959; the anthem, originally adapted from a Sunday school song written in 1893, contains lyrics in both Dutch and Sranang Tongo
Economy overview:
The economy is dominated by the mining industry, with exports of alumina, gold, and oil accounting for about 85% of exports and 25% of government revenues, making the economy highly vulnerable to mineral price volatility. Economic growth has remained at about 4-5% per year in 2010-13, but the government's budget was strained by high inflation in 2010. In January 2011, the government devalued the currency by 20% and raised taxes to reduce the budget deficit. As a result of these measures, inflation has receded to about 4% in 2013. Suriname's economic prospects for the medium term will depend on continued commitment to responsible monetary and fiscal policies and to the introduction of structural reforms to liberalize markets and promote competition. The government's reliance on revenue from extractive industries will temper Suriname's economic outlook, especially if gold prices continue their downward trend.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$7.12 billion (2013 est.)
$6.801 billion (2012 est.)
$6.492 billion (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate):
$5.009 billion (2013 est.)
GDP real growth rate:
4.7% (2013 est.)
4.8% (2012 est.)
4.7% (2011 est.)
GDP per capita (PPP):
$12,900 (2013 est.)
$12,500 (2012 est.)
$12,100 (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars
Gross national saving:
GDP composition, by end use:
household consumption: 73.8%
government consumption: 9.9%
investment in fixed capital: 5%
investment in inventories: 19.7%
exports of goods and services: 43.2%
imports of goods and services: -51.6%
(2013 est.)
GDP composition, by sector of origin:
agriculture: 8.9%
industry: 36.6%
services: 54.5% (2013 est.)
Agriculture products:
rice, bananas, palm kernels, coconuts, plantains, peanuts; beef, chickens; shrimp; forest products
bauxite and gold mining, alumina production; oil, lumbering, food processing, fishing
Industrial production growth rate:
4% (2013 est.)
Labor force:
165,600 (2007)
Labor force by occupation:
agriculture: 8%
industry: 14%
services: 78% (2004)
Unemployment rate:
9% (2008)
12.1% (2006)
Population below poverty line:
70% (2002 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Distribution of family income Gini index:
revenues: $826.6 million
expenditures: $939.7 million (2010 est.)
Taxes and other revenues:
16.5% of GDP (2010 est.)
Budget surplus or deficit:
Public debt:
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
4.2% (2013 est.)
5% (2012 est.)
Central bank discount rate:
Commercial bank prime lending rate:
12% (31 December 2013 est.)
11.73% (31 December 2012 est.)
Stock of narrow money:
$1.132 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
$1.075 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
Stock of broad money:
$3.005 million (31 December 2013 est.)
$2.463 million (31 December 2012 est.)
Stock of domestic credit:
$939.4 million (31 December 2013 est.)
$1.275 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares:
Current account balance:
$102.5 million (2013 est.)
$241.4 million (2012 est.)
$2.512 billion (2013 est.)
$2.564 billion (2012 est.)
Exports commodities:
alumina, gold, crude oil, lumber, shrimp and fish, rice, bananas
Exports partners:
US 25.7%, Belgium 17.4%, UAE 11.5%, Canada 10.3%, Guyana 5.8%, France 5.5%, Barbados 4.2% (2012)
$1.778 billion (2013 est.)
$1.761 billion (2012 est.)
Imports commodities:
capital equipment, petroleum, foodstuffs, cotton, consumer goods
Imports partners:
US 26%, Netherlands 16%, China 9.9%, UAE 8.1%, Antigua and Barbuda 6.7%, Netherlands Antilles 4.9%, Japan 4.3% (2012)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$1.008 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
$816.9 million (31 December 2011 est.)
Debt external:
$860 million (31 December 2013 est.)
$810.8 million (31 December 2012 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment at home:
Stock of direct foreign investment abroad:
Exchange rates:
Surinamese dollars (SRD) per US dollar -
3.3 (2012 est.)
3.3 (2012 est.)
2.7454 (2010 est.)
2.745 (2009)
2.745 (2008)
Electricity production:
1.57 billion kWh (2010 est.)
Electricity consumption:
1.423 billion kWh (2010 est.)
Electricity exports:
0 kWh (2012 est.)
Electricity imports:
0 kWh (2012 est.)
Electricity installed generating capacity:
410,000 kW (2010 est.)
Electricity from fossil fuels:
53.9% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
Electricity from nuclear fuels:
0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
Electricity from hydroelectric plants:
46.1% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
Electricity from other renewable sources:
0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
Crude oil production:
15,270 bbl/day (2012 est.)
Crude oil exports:
7,621 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Crude oil imports:
0.66 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Crude oil proved reserves:
76.8 million bbl (1 January 2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products production:
7,462 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Refined petroleum products consumption:
14,100 bbl/day (2011 est.)
Refined petroleum products exports:
1,015 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Refined petroleum products imports:
6,454 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Natural gas production:
0 cu m (2011 est.)
Natural gas consumption:
0 cu m (2010 est.)
Natural gas exports:
0 cu m (2011 est.)
Natural gas imports:
0 cu m (2011 est.)
Natural gas proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy:
2.335 million Mt (2011 est.)
Telephones mobile cellular:
977,000 (2012)
Telephone system:
general assessment: international facilities are good
domestic: combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity 185 telephones per 100 persons; microwave radio relay network
international: country code - 597; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2010)
Telephones main lines in use:
83,000 (2012)
Broadcast media:
2 state-owned TV stations; 1 state-owned radio station; multiple private radio and TV stations (2007)
Internet country code:
Internet users:
163,000 (2009)
Internet hosts:
188 (2012)
55 (2013)
Airports with paved runways:
total: 6
over 3,047 m: 1
under 914 m: 5 (2013)
Airports with unpaved runways:
total: 49
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 45 (2013)
oil 50 km (2013)
total: 4,304 km
paved: 1,130 km
unpaved: 3,174 km (2003)
Merchant marine:
Ports and terminals:
major seaport(s): Paramaribo, Wageningen
Military branches:
Suriname Armed Forces: Ground Forces, Naval Forces, Air Forces (2010)
Military service age and obligation:
18 is the legal minimum age for voluntary military service; no conscription; personnel drawn almost exclusively from the Creole community (2012)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 134,218
females age 16-49: 134,439 (2010 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 109,445
females age 16-49: 112,538 (2010 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 4,119
female: 4,106 (2010 est.)
Military expenditures:
Transnational Issues
Disputes international:
area claimed by French Guiana between Riviere Litani and Riviere Marouini (both headwaters of the Lawa); Suriname claims a triangle of land between the New and Kutari/Koetari rivers in a historic dispute over the headwaters of the Courantyne; Guyana seeks United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea arbitration to resolve the longstanding dispute with Suriname over the axis of the territorial sea boundary in potentially oil-rich waters
Refugees and internally displaced persons:
Trafficking in persons:
current situation: Suriname is a source, destination, and transit country for women, men, and children who are subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor; women and girls from Suriname, Guyana, Brazil, and the Dominican Republic are subjected to sex trafficking in the country, sometimes around mining camps; debt bondage and sex trafficking are reported to occur within the Chinese migrant community; migrant workers in agriculture and on fishing boats and children working in informal urban sectors and gold mines are vulnerable to forced labor
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Suriname does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; the government has prosecuted an increased number of sex trafficking cases and identified an increased number of child sex trafficking victims; accountability for trafficking offenses continues to be a problem as no offenders have been convicted and the complicity of local officials remains a concern; authorities do not have a formal system for referring victims to NGOs that provide services but reported doing so on an ad hoc basis; the government's interagency anti-trafficking working group drafted an anti-trafficking policy in 2012 (2013)