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Suriname, See : Flags, Maps

Suriname (South America)

Introduction ::Suriname


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 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 has continued to rule since.

Geography ::Suriname

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Northern South America, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between
French Guiana and Guyana

Geographic coordinates:
4 00 N, 56 00 W

Map references:

South America


total: 163,820 sq km country comparison to the world: 91 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: 0.06%

other: 99.58% (2005)

Irrigated land:

510 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources:

122 cu km (2003)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):

total: 0.67 cu km/yr (4%/3%/93%)

per capita: 1,489 cu m/yr (2000)

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 ::Suriname


486,618 (July 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 172

Age structure:

0-14 years: 27.1% (male 66,603/female 64,035)

15-64 years: 66.6% (male 159,525/female 160,871)

65 years and over: 6.3% (male 13,004/female 17,229) (2010 est.)

Median age:

total: 28.3 years

male: 27.9 years

female: 28.7 years (2010 est.)

Population growth rate:

1.108% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 113

Birth rate:

16.61 births/1,000 population (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 124

Death rate:

5.53 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 175

Net migration rate:

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 108


urban population: 75% of total population (2008)

rate of urbanization: 1% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.068 male(s)/female

under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.75 male(s)/female

total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2010 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 18.19 deaths/1,000 live births country comparison to the world: 104 male: 21.48 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 14.67 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 73.98 years country comparison to the world: 103 male: 71.24 years

female: 76.91 years (2010 est.)

Total fertility rate:

1.97 children born/woman (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 133

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

2.4% (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 27

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

6,800 (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 116

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

fewer than 500 (2003 est.) country comparison to the world: 93

Major infectious diseases:

degree of risk: high

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

vectorborne disease: dengue fever, Mayaro virus, and malaria

water contact disease: leptospirosis (2009)


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%


Hindu 27.4%, Protestant 25.2% (predominantly Moravian), Roman
Catholic 22.8%, Muslim 19.6%, indigenous beliefs 5%


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


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 89.6%

male: 92%

female: 87.2% (2004 census)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):

total: 12 years

male: 11 years

female: 13 years (2002)

Education expenditures:

Government ::Suriname

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)


ratified 30 September 1987; effective 30 October 1987

Legal system:

based on Dutch legal system incorporating French penal theory; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations


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 (For more information visit the World Leaders website ) 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:

Cantonal Courts and a Court of Justice as an appellate court (justices are nominated for life); member of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ)

Political parties and leaders:

A-Combination (a coalition that includes the General Liberation and Development Party ABOP [Ronnie BRUNSWIJK], SEEKA [Paul ABENA], Union of Brotherhood and Unity in Politics BEP [Caprino ALENDY]; 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-Ruling 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 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], 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 [NA]; 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:

(correspondent), ITU, ITUC, LAES, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OIC, OPANAL, OPCW,

Diplomatic representation in the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Jacques Ruben Constantijn KROSS

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 John R. NAY

embassy: Dr. Sophie Redmondstraat 129, Paramaribo

mailing address: US Department of State, PO Box 1821, Paramaribo

telephone: [597] 472-900
FAX: [597] 410-025

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 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 Sranan Tongo

Economy ::Suriname

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. In 2000, the government of Ronald VENETIAAN, returned to office and inherited an economy with inflation of over 100% and a growing fiscal deficit. He quickly implemented an austerity program, raised taxes, attempted to control spending, and tamed inflation. Economic growth reached about 6% in 2007 and 2008, owing to sizeable foreign investment in mining and oil. Suriname has received aid for projects in the bauxite and gold mining sectors from Netherlands, Belgium, and the European Development Fund. The economy contracted in 2009, however, as investment waned and the country earned less from its commodity exports when global prices for most commodities fell. Trade picked up, boosting Suriname's economic growth in 2010, but the government's budget remained strained, with increased social spending during last year's election. 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.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$4.794 billion (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 162 $4.632 billion (2009 est.)

$4.541 billion (2008 est.)

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):

$3.297 billion (2010 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

3.5% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 99 2% (2009 est.)

7% (2008 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$9,900 (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 111 $9,600 (2009 est.)

$9,500 (2008 est.)

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 10.8%

industry: 24.4%

services: 64.8% (2005 est.)

Labor force:

165,600 (2007) country comparison to the world: 176

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 8%

industry: 14%

services: 78% (2004)

Unemployment rate:

9.5% (2004) country comparison to the world: 105

Population below poverty line:

70% (2002 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: NA%

highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

6.4% (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 169

Commercial bank prime lending rate:

11.65% (31 December 2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 74 12.2% (31 December 2008 est.)

Stock of narrow money:

$608 million (31 December 2009) country comparison to the world: 153 $495.6 million (31 December 2008)

Stock of broad money:

$1.809 billion (31 December 2009) country comparison to the world: 145 $1.573 billion (31 December 2008)

Stock of domestic credit:

$793.1 million (31 December 2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 154 $651 million (31 December 2007 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:

Agriculture - products:

paddy 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:

6.5% (1994 est.) country comparison to the world: 47

Electricity - production:

1.605 billion kWh (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 138

Electricity - consumption:

1.467 billion kWh (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 140

Electricity - exports:

0 kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - imports:

0 kWh (2008 est.)

Oil - production:

15,190 bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 79

Oil - consumption:

14,000 bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 140

Oil - exports:

4,308 bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 108

Oil - imports:

6,296 bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 150

Oil - proved reserves:

79.6 million bbl (1 January 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 73

Natural gas - production:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 124

Natural gas - consumption:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 173

Natural gas - exports:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 118

Natural gas - imports:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 128

Natural gas - proved reserves:

0 cu m (1 January 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 130

Current account balance:

$24 million (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 58


$1.391 billion (2006 est.) country comparison to the world: 142

Exports - commodities:

alumina, gold, crude oil, lumber, shrimp and fish, rice, bananas

Exports - partners:

Canada 35.47%, Belgium 14.92%, US 10.15%, UAE 9.87%, Norway 4.92%,
Netherlands 4.7%, France 4.47% (2009)


$1.297 billion (2006 est.) country comparison to the world: 167

Imports - commodities:

capital equipment, petroleum, foodstuffs, cotton, consumer goods

Imports - partners:

US 30.79%, Netherlands 19.17%, Trinidad and Tobago 13.04%, China 6.8%, Japan 5.85% (2009)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$263.3 million (2006) country comparison to the world: 125

Debt - external:

$504.3 million (2005 est.) country comparison to the world: 160

Exchange rates:

Surinamese dollars (SRD) per US dollar - 2.745 (2007), 2.745 (2006), 2.7317 (2005), 2.7336 (2004), 2.6013 (2003)

note: in January 2004, the government replaced the guilder with the Surinamese dollar, tied to a US dollar-dominated currency basket

Communications ::Suriname

Telephones - main lines in use:

83,700 (2009) country comparison to the world: 146

Telephones - mobile cellular:

763,900 (2009) country comparison to the world: 150

Telephone system:

general assessment: international facilities are good

domestic: combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity roughly 175 telephones per 100 persons; microwave radio relay network

international: country code - 597; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)

Broadcast media:

2 state-owned TV stations; 1 state-owned radio station; multiple private radio and TV stations (2007)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

171 (2010) country comparison to the world: 199

Internet users:

163,000 (2009) country comparison to the world: 146

Transportation ::Suriname


51 (2010) country comparison to the world: 91

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 5

over 3,047 m: 1

under 914 m: 4 (2010)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 46

914 to 1,523 m: 5

under 914 m: 41 (2010)


oil 50 km (2009)


total: 4,304 km country comparison to the world: 154 paved: 1,130 km

unpaved: 3,174 km (2003)


1,200 km (most navigable by ships with drafts up to 7 m) (2010) country comparison to the world: 60

Merchant marine:

total: 1 country comparison to the world: 153 by type: cargo 1 (2008)

Ports and terminals:

Paramaribo, Wageningen

Military ::Suriname

Military branches:

National Army (Nationaal Leger, NL; includes Marine Section and Air
Wing) (2010)

Military service age and obligation:

18 years of age (est.); recruitment is voluntary, with personnel drawn almost exclusively from the Creole community (2007)

Manpower available for military service:

males age 16-49: 133,417

females age 16-49: 133,487 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:

males age 16-49: 108,555

females age 16-49: 111,927 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:

male: 4,046

female: 4,056 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures:

0.6% of GDP (2006 est.) country comparison to the world: 157

Transnational Issues ::Suriname

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 (UNCLOS) arbitration to resolve the long-standing dispute with Suriname over the axis of the territorial sea boundary in potentially oil-rich waters

Illicit drugs:

growing transshipment point for South American drugs destined for Europe via the Netherlands and Brazil; transshipment point for arms-for-drugs dealing


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