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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 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... See More



 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 (Rank: 122)

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 (2008)

Total Renewable Water Resources:

 122 cu km (2003)

Freshwater Withdrawal:

 Total: 0.67 cu km/yr (4%/3%/93%)
Per capita: 1,489 cu m/yr (2000)

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

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 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%


 491,989 (July 2011 est.)

Age Structure:

 0-14 years: 26.4% (male 66,440/female 63,469)
15-64 years: 67.3% (male 164,739/female 166,139)
65 years and over: 6.3% (male 13,300/female 17,902) (2011 est.)

Median Age:

 Total: 28.7 years
Male: 28.3 years
Female: 29.1 years (2011 est.)

Population Growth Rate:

 1.087% (2011 est.)

Birth Rate:

 16.42 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)

Death Rate:

 5.54 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)

Net Migration Rate:

 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)


 Urban population: 69% of total population (2010)
Rate of urbanization: 1.5% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major Cities - Population:

 PARAMARIBO (capital) 259,000 (2009)

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 (2011 est.)

Maternal Mortality Rate:

 100 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)

Infant Mortality Rate:

 Total: 17.61 deaths/1,000 live births
Male: 20.79 deaths/1,000 live births
Female: 14.2 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)

Life Expectancy At Birth:

 Total population: 74.22 years
Male: 71.47 years
Female: 77.16 years (2011 est.)

Total Fertility Rate:

 1.95 children born/woman (2011 est.)

Health Expenditures:

 7.6% of GDP (2009)

Physicians Density:

 0.45 physicians/1,000 population (2000)

Hospital Bed Density:

 3.1 beds/1,000 population (2007)

Drinking Water Source:

 Urban: 97% of population
Rural: 81% of population
Total: 93% of population
Urban: 3% of population
Rural: 19% of population
Total: 7% of population (2008)

Sanitation Facility Access:

 Urban: 90% of population
Rural: 66% of population
Total: 84% of population
Urban: 10% of population
Rural: 34% of population
Total: 16% of population (2008)

HIV/AIDS - Adult Prevalence Rate:

 1% (2009 est.)

HIV/AIDS - People Living With HIV/AIDS:

 3,700 (2009 est.)

HIV/AIDS - Deaths:

 Fewer than 200 (2009 est.)

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)


 Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 89.6%
Male: 92%
Female: 87.2% (2004 census)

Average Years of Schooling:

 Total: 13 years (2006)

Unemployment, Youth Ages 15-24:

 Total: 21.5% (2004)

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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:

 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:

 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:


Diplomatic Representation in the US:

 Chief of mission: Ambassador Subhas-Chandra MUNGRA
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

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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 7% in 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 slowed 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 the election. In January 2011, the government devalued the currency by 20% and raised taxes to reduce the budget deficit. 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):

 $4.711 billion (2010 est.)
$4.512 billion (2009 est.)
$4.378 billion (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (Official Exchange Rate):

 $3.682 billion (2010 est.)

GDP - Real Growth Rate:

 4.4% (2010 est.)
3.1% (2009 est.)
4.7% (2008 est.)

GDP - Per Capita (PPP):

 $9,700 (2010 est.)
$9,400 (2009 est.)
$9,200 (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)

Labor Force - By Occupation:

 Agriculture: 8%
Industry: 14%
Services: 78% (2004)

Unemployment Rate:

 9.5% (2004)

Population Below Poverty Line:

 70% (2002 est.)

Household Income / Consumption By Share:

 Lowest 10%: NA%
Highest 10%: NA%


 Revenues: $392.6 million
Expenditures: $425.9 million (2004)

Taxes and Other Revenues:

 10.7% of GDP (2004)

Budget Surplus / Deficit:

 -0.9% of GDP (2004)

Inflation Rate (Consumer Prices):

 6.9% (2010 est.)
-0.1% (2009 est.)

Commercial Bank Prime Lending Rate:

 11.55% (31 December 2010 est.)
11.65% (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Money:

 $484.7 million (31 December 2008)
$416.6 million (31 December 2007)

Stock of Quasi Money:

 $1.018 billion (31 December 2008)
$824.4 million (31 December 2007)

Stock of Narrow Money:

 $716.2 million (31 December 2010 est.)
$609.1 million (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Broad Money:

 $2.002 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$1.808 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Domestic Credit:

 $983.6 million (31 December 2010 est.)
$765 million (31 December 2009 est.)

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.)

Electricity - Production:

 1.58 billion kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - Production By Source:

 Fossil fuel: 25.2%
Hydro: 74.8%
Nuclear: 0%
Other: 0% (2001)

Electricity - Consumption:

 1.44 billion kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - Exports:

 0 kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - Imports:

 0 kWh (2009 est.)

Oil - Production:

 14,460 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Consumption:

 15,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Exports:

 3,058 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Imports:

 5,668 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Proven Reserves:

 78.9 million bbl (1 January 2011 est.)

Natural Gas - Production:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Consumption:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Exports:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Imports:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Proven Reserves:

 0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)

Current Account Balance:

 $304.4 million (2010 est.)
$209.5 million (2009 est.)


 $1.477 billion (2010 est.)
$1.404 billion (2009 est.)

Exports - Commodities:

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

Exports - Partners:

 Canada 36.8%, US 12%, Belgium 11.6%, UAE 9.5%, Netherlands 6.1%, Norway 5.5% (2010)


 $1.334 billion (2010 est.)
$1.296 billion (2009 est.)

Imports - Commodities:

 Capital equipment, petroleum, foodstuffs, cotton, consumer goods

Imports - Partners:

 US 26.6%, Netherlands 16%, Trinidad and Tobago 15.1%, China 8.4%, Japan 5.5%, Brazil 4.7% (2010)

Reserves of Foreign Exchange and Gold:

 $263.3 million (2006)

Debt - External:

 $504.3 million (2005 est.)

Exchange Rates:

 Convert to Any Currency

Surinamese dollars (SRD) per US dollar -
2.745 (2010)
2.745 (2009)
2.745 (2008)
2.745 (2007)
2.7438 (2006)

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Telephones - Main Lines In Use:

 85,000 (2010)

Telephones - Cellular:

 890,000 (2010)

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)

Radio Broadcast Stations:

 AM 4, FM 23, shortwave 3 (2008)

Television Broadcast Stations:

 3 (plus 7 repeaters) (2000)

Internet Country Code:


Internet Hosts:

 171 (2010)

Internet Users:

 163,000 (2009)

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 51 (2010)

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 (2010)


 Total: 4,304 km
Paved: 1,130 km
Unpaved: 3,174 km (2003)


 1,200 km (most navigable by ships with drafts up to 7 m) (2010)

Merchant Marine:

 Total: 1
By type: cargo 1 (2008)

Ports and Terminals:

 Paramaribo, Wageningen

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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: 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:

 0.6% of GDP (2006 est.)

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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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Last Updated: December 2011

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