Suriname

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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. The Netherlands granted the colony independence 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.

Geography

Location

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

Geographic coordinates

4.00° N, 56.00° W

Area 92/257

total: 163,820 sq km

land: 156,000 sq km

water: 7,820 sq km

Area - comparative

slightly larger than Georgia

Land boundaries

total: 1,907 km

border countries (3): Brazil 515 km, French Guiana 556 km, Guyana 836 km

Coastline

386 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

Climate

tropical; moderated by trade winds

Terrain

mostly rolling hills; narrow coastal plain with swamps

Elevation

mean elevation:

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

agricultural land: 0.5%

arable land 0.4%; permanent crops 0%; permanent pasture 0.1%

forest: 94.6%

other: 4.9% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

511.8 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources

122 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)

total: 0.67 cu km/yr (6%/4%/90%)

per capita: 1,396 cu m/yr (2006)

Natural hazards

NA

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

Nationality

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%

Languages

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

Religions

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

Population 171/238

579,633 (July 2015 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 25.66% (male 75,791/female 72,934)

15-24 years: 17.48% (male 51,657/female 49,662)

25-54 years: 44.3% (male 130,726/female 126,048)

55-64 years: 6.81% (male 19,291/female 20,198)

65 years and over: 5.75% (male 14,395/female 18,931) (2015 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 50.8%

youth dependency ratio: 40.4%

elderly dependency ratio: 10.4%

potential support ratio: 9.6% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 29.1 years

male: 28.7 years

female: 29.4 years (2015 est.)

Population growth rate 113/233

1.08% (2015 est.)

Birth rate 117/224

16.34 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Death rate 157/225

6.13 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Net migration rate 70/222

0.56 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 66% of total population (2015)

rate of urbanization: 0.78% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

PARAMARIBO (capital) 234,000 (2014)

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: 0.96 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.76 male(s)/female

total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2015 est.)

Maternal mortality rate 63/184

155 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate 68/224

total: 26.17 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 30.48 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 21.65 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)

Life expectancy at birth 146/224

total population: 71.97 years

male: 69.57 years

female: 74.48 years (2015 est.)

Total fertility rate 126/224

1.97 children born/woman (2015 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

47.6% (2010)

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: 94.8% of population

unimproved:

urban: 1.9% of population

rural: 11.6% of population

total: 5.2% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access

improved:

urban: 88.4% of population

rural: 61.4% of population

total: 79.2% of population

unimproved:

urban: 11.6% of population

rural: 38.6% of population

total: 20.8% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

1.02% (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

3,800 (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

200 (2014 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate 60/191

26.1% (2014)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight 83/138

5.8% (2010)

Education expenditures

NA

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 51/134

total: 15.3%

male: 11.6%

female: 21.7% (2013 est.)

Government

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

Capital

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

Independence

25 November 1975 (from the Netherlands)

National holiday

Independence Day, 25 November (1975)

Constitution

previous 1975; latest ratified 30 September 1987, effective 30 October 1987; amended 1992 (2015)

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

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Suriname

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Desire Delano BOUTERSE (since 12 August 2010); Vice President Ashwin ADHIN (since 12 August 2015); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government

head of government: President Desire Delano BOUTERSE (since 12 August 2010); Vice President Ashwin ADHIN (since 12 August 2015)

cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers appointed by the president

elections/appointments: president and vice president indirectly elected by the National Assembly; president and vice president serve a 5-year term (no term limits); election last held on 25 May 2015 (next to be held on 25 May 2020)

election results: Desire Delano BOUTERSE reelected president; National Assembly vote - NA

Legislative branch

description: unicameral National Assembly or Nationale Assemblee (51 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote to serve 5-year terms)

elections: last held on 25 May 2015 (next to be held in May 2020)

election results: percent of vote by party - NDP 45.5%, V7 37.2%, A-Com 10.5%, DOE 4.3%, PALU .7%, other 1.7%; seats by party - NDP 26, V7 18, A-Com 5, DOE 1, PALU 1

Judicial branch

highest resident 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

Alternative Combination or A-Com (a coalition that includes ABOP, KTPI, PDO)

Brotherhood and Unity in Politics or BEP [Celsius WATERBERG]

Democratic Alternative '91 or DA91 [Winston JESSURUN]

General Liberation and Development Party or ABOP [Ronnie BRUNSWIJK}

National Democratic Party or NDP [Desire Delano BOUTERSE]

National Party of Suriname or NPS [Gregory RUSLAND]

Party for Democracy and Development or PDO [Waldy NAIN]

Party for Democracy and Development in Unity or DOE [Carl BREEVELD]

Party for National Unity and Solidarity or KTPI [Willy SOEMITA]

People's Alliance, Pertjaja Luhur or PL [Paul SOMOHARDJO]

Progressive Worker and Farmer's Union or PALU [Jim HOK]

Surinamese Labor Party or SPA [Guno CASTELEN]

United Reform Party or VHP [Chandrikapersad SANTOKHI]

Victory 7 or V7 (formerly the New Front for Democracy and Development or NF) (a coalition including NPS, VHP, DA91, PL, SPA) [Chandrikapresad SANTOKHI]

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

ACP, AOSIS, Caricom, CD, CDB, CELAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAES, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OIC, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, Petrocaribe, UN, UNASUR, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

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)

royal palm, faya lobi (flower); national colors: green, white, red, yellow

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; originally adapted from a Sunday school song written in 1893 and contains lyrics in both Dutch and Sranang Tongo

Economy

Economy - overview

The economy is dominated by the mining industry, with exports of oil, gold, and alumina accounting for about 85% of exports and 27% of government revenues, making the economy highly vulnerable to mineral price volatility. Economic growth has declined from just under 5% in 2012 and 2013 to 4% in 2014. 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 receded to less than 4% in 2014. 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) 161/230

$9.211 billion (2015 est.)

$9.075 billion (2014 est.)

$8.911 billion (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$5.05 billion (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate 162/225

1.5% (2015 est.)

1.8% (2014 est.)

2.8% (2013 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP) 98/230

$16,700 (2015 est.)

$16,400 (2014 est.)

$16,100 (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

Gross national saving 42/179

26.4% of GDP (2015 est.)

25.9% of GDP (2014 est.)

26% of GDP (2013 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 52%

government consumption: 11.2%

investment in fixed capital: 11.9%

investment in inventories: 26.5%

exports of goods and services: 24.2%

imports of goods and services: -25.8%

(2015 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 6.2%

industry: 48.7%

services: 45.1% (2015 est.)

Agriculture - products

rice, bananas, palm kernels, coconuts, plantains, peanuts; beef, chickens; shrimp; forest products

Industries

bauxite and gold mining, alumina production; oil, lumbering, food processing, fishing

Industrial production growth rate 113/202

2% (2015 est.)

Labor force 176/233

165,600 (2007 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 11.2%

industry: 19.5%

services: 69.3% (2010)

Unemployment rate 104/207

8.9% (2014 est.)

8.5% (2013 est.)

Population below poverty line

70% (2002 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: NA%

highest 10%: NA%

Budget

revenues: $1.061 billion

expenditures: $1.455 billion (2015 est.)

Taxes and other revenues 150/219

21% of GDP (2015 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) 196/220

-7.8% of GDP (2015 est.)

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices) 148/226

3.8% (2015 est.)

3.4% (2014 est.)

Central bank discount rate 20/156

10% (2013)

9% (2012)

Commercial bank prime lending rate 62/184

12.5% (31 December 2015 est.)

12.28% (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of narrow money 138/192

$1.55 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$1.409 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of broad money 144/193

$3.461 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$2.885 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of domestic credit 134/191

$2.424 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$2.029 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares

$NA

Current account balance 93/197

-$476 million (2015 est.)

-$386 million (2014 est.)

Exports 142/224

$1.829 billion (2015 est.)

$2.149 billion (2014 est.)

Exports - commodities

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

Exports - partners

US 32.1%, UAE 16.8%, Belgium 13.4%, Canada 10%, France 6.2%, Netherlands 4.3% (2014)

Imports 161/223

$2.06 billion (2015 est.)

$1.966 billion (2014 est.)

Imports - commodities

capital equipment, petroleum, foodstuffs, cotton, consumer goods

Imports - partners

US 31.3%, Netherlands 16.6%, China 10.7%, Trinidad and Tobago 6.9%, Japan 4.2% (2014)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 143/170

$625.2 million (31 December 2014 est.)

$778.8 million (31 December 2013 est.)

Debt - external 163/206

$1.067 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

$983 million (31 December 2013 est.)

Exchange rates

Surinamese dollars (SRD) per US dollar -

3.3 (2015 est.)

3.3 (2014 est.)

3.3 (2013 est.)

3.3 (2012 est.)

3.27 (2011 est.)

Energy

Electricity - production 144/220

1.75 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - consumption 147/219

1.572 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - exports 180/218

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - imports 185/219

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity 145/214

412,000 kW (2012 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels 145/214

54.1% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels 158/214

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 53/214

45.9% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources 210/212

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production 77/214

15,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Crude oil - exports 172/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - imports 111/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves 73/215

88.97 million bbl (1 January 2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production 98/214

15,980 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption 137/212

17,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports 88/214

8,884 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports 137/213

10,070 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Natural gas - production 114/216

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - consumption 182/215

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - exports 158/215

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - imports 114/214

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves 181/212

0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 147/212

2.268 million Mt (2012 est.)

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines 147/219

total subscriptions: 84,900

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 15 (2014 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular 159/217

total: 927,800

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 162 (2014 est.)

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)

Broadcast media

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

Radio broadcast stations

AM 4, FM 23, shortwave 3 (2008)

Television broadcast stations

3 (plus 7 repeaters) (2000)

Internet country code

.sr

Internet hosts 201/232

188 (2012)

Internet users 154/217

total: 212,900

percent of population: 37.1% (2014 est.)

Transportation

Airports 85/236

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)

Pipelines

oil 50 km (2013)

Roadways 155/223

total: 4,304 km

paved: 1,130 km

unpaved: 3,174 km (2003)

Waterways 58/107

1,200 km (most navigable by ships with drafts up to 7 m) (2011)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Paramaribo, Wageningen

Military and Security

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)

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

Illicit drugs

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