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Flag of Suriname
Map of Suriname
Introduction Suriname
Background:
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 rule through a succession of nominally civilian administrations until 1987, when international pressure finally forced a democratic election. In 1990, the military overthrew the civilian government, but a democratically elected government returned to power in 1991.
Geography Suriname
Location:
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
Area:
total: 163,270 sq km
land: 161,470 sq km
water: 1,800 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly larger than Georgia
Land boundaries:
total: 1,707 km
border countries: Brazil 597 km, French Guiana 510 km, Guyana 600 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 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)
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, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
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
Population:
439,117 (July 2006 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 29% (male 65,412/female 62,069)
15-64 years: 64.7% (male 145,913/female 138,076)
65 years and over: 6.3% (male 12,223/female 15,424) (2006 est.)
Median age:
total: 26.5 years
male: 26 years
female: 26.9 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.2% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
18.02 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
7.27 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
-8.76 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.79 male(s)/female
total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 23.02 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 26.89 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 18.95 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 69.01 years
male: 66.66 years
female: 71.47 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
2.32 children born/woman (2006 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
1.7% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
5,200 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
less than 500 (2003 est.)
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%
Religions:
Hindu 27.4%, Protestant 25.2% (predominantly Moravian), Roman Catholic 22.8%, Muslim 19.6%, indigenous beliefs 5%
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), Hindustani (a dialect of Hindi), Javanese
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 88%
male: 92.3%
female: 84.1% (2000 est.)
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
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 Netherlands)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 25 November (1975)
Constitution:
ratified 30 September 1987
Legal system:
based on Dutch legal system incorporating French penal theory; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations
Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Runaldo Ronald VENETIAAN (since 12 August 2000); Vice President Ram SARDJOE (since 3 August 2005); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Runaldo Ronald VENETIAAN (since 12 August 2000); Vice President Ram SARDJOE (since 3 August 2005); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
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 25 May 2005 (next to be held in 2010)
election results: Runaldo Ronald VENETIAAN reelected president; percent of vote - Runaldo Ronald VENETIAAN 62.9%, Rabin PARMESSAR 35.4%, other 1.7%; note - after two votes in the parliament failed to secure a two-thirds majority for a candidate, the vote then went to a special session of the United People's Assembly on 3 August 2005
Legislative branch:
unicameral National Assembly or Nationale Assemblee (51 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 25 May 2005 (next to be held in 2010)
election results: percent of vote by party - NF 39.73%, NDP 22.2%, VVV 13.79%, A-Com 7.21%, A-1 5.86%, other 7.42%; seats by party - NF 23, NDP 15, VVV 5, A-Com 5, A-1 3
Judicial branch:
Cantonal Courts and a Court of Justice as an appellate court (justices are nominated for life)
Political parties and leaders:
Alternative-1 or A-1 (a coalition of Amazone Party of Suriname or APS [Kenneth VAN GENDEREN], Democrats of the 21st Century or D-21 [Soewarto MOESTADJA], Nieuw Suriname or NS [Radjen Nanan PANDAY], Political Wing of the FAL or PVF [Jiwan SITAL], Trefpunt 2000 or T-2000 [Arti JESSURUN]); General Interior Development Party or ABOP [Ronnie BRUNSWIJK]; National Democratic Party or NDP [Desire BOUTERSE]; New Front for Democracy and Development or NF (a coalition which includes A-Combination or A-Com [leader NA], Democratic Alternative 1991 or DA-91 which split from the A-1 before the elections of May 2005 and are an independent, business-oriented party [Winston JESSURUN], National Party Suriname or NPS [Ronald VENETIAAN], United Reform Party or VHP [Ram SARDJOE], Pertjaja Luhur or PL [Salam Paul SOMOHARDJO], Surinamese Labor Party or SPA [Siegfried GILDS]); Party for Democracy and Development in Unity or DOE [Marten SCHALKWIJK]; People's Alliance for Progress or VVV (a coalition of Democratic National Platform 2000 or DNP-2000 [Jules WIJDENBOSCH], Grassroots Party for Renewal and Democracy or BVD [Tjan GOBARDHAN], Party for National Unity and Solidarity of the Highest Order or KTPI [Willy SOEMITA], Party for Progression, Justice, and Perseverance or PPRS [Renee KAIMAN], Pendawalima or PL [Raymond SAPOEN]); Progressive Laborers and Farmers Union or PALU [Jim HOK]; Progressive Political Party or PPP [Surinder MUNGRA]; Seeka [Paul ABENA]; Union of Progressive Surinamers or UPS [Sheoradj PANDAY]
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, Caricom, CSN, FAO, G-77, IADB, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDB, IFAD, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ITU, LAES, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OIC, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Henry Lothar ILLES
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 Marsha E. BARNES
embassy: Dr. Sophie Redmondstraat 129, Paramaribo
mailing address: Department of State, 3390 Paramaribo Place, Washington, DC, 20521-3390
telephone: [597] 472-900
FAX: [597] 425-690
Flag description:
five horizontal bands of green (top, double width), white, red (quadruple width), white, and green (double width); there is a large, yellow, five-pointed star centered in the red band
Economy Suriname
Economy - overview:
The economy is dominated by the mining industry, which accounts for more than a third of GDP and subjects government revenues to mineral price volatility. The short-term economic outlook depends on the government's ability to control inflation and on the development of projects in the bauxite and gold mining sectors. 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 of Ronald VENETIAAN, in his first term, implemented an austerity program, raised taxes, and attempted to control spending. Economic policies are likely to remain the same during VENETIAAN's second term. Prospects for local onshore oil production are good, as a drilling program is underway. Offshore oil drilling was given a boost in 2004 when the State Oil Company (Staatsolie) signed exploration agreements with Repsol, Mearsk, and Occidental.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$2.818 billion (2005 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
$1.3 billion (2005 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
2% (2005 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$4,100 (2005 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 13%
industry: 22%
services: 65% (2001)
Labor force:
156,700 (2004)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 8%
industry: 14%
services: 78%
Unemployment rate:
9.5% (2004)
Population below poverty line:
70% (2002 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
9.5% (2005 est.)
Budget:
revenues: $392.6 million
expenditures: $425.9 million (2004)
Agriculture - products:
paddy 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:
6.5% (1994 est.)
Electricity - production:
2.014 billion kWh (2003)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 25.2%
hydro: 74.8%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
1.873 billion kWh (2003)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2003)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2003)
Oil - production:
12,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - consumption:
14,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - exports:
1,370 bbl/day (2003)
Oil - imports:
1,644 bbl/day (2003)
Oil - proved reserves:
150 million bbl (2005)
Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2003 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2003 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
0 cu m (2005)
Exports:
$881 million f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Exports - commodities:
alumina, crude oil, lumber, shrimp and fish, rice, bananas
Exports - partners:
Norway 24.8%, US 16.3%, Canada 15.9%, Belgium 9.5%, France 7.8%, UAE 7.2% (2005)
Imports:
$750 million f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Imports - commodities:
capital equipment, petroleum, foodstuffs, cotton, consumer goods
Imports - partners:
US 29.4%, Netherlands 17.5%, Trinidad and Tobago 12.7%, China 6.5%, Japan 5.2% (2005)
Debt - external:
$504.3 million (2005 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
Netherlands provided $37 million for project and program assistance, European Development Fund $4 million, Belgium $2 million (2003)
Currency (code):
Surinam dollar (SRD)
Currency code:
SRG
Exchange rates:
Surinamese dollars per US dollar - 2.7317 (2005), Surinamese guilders per US dollar - 2.7336 (2004), 2.6013 (2003), 2.3468 (2002), 2.1785 (2001)
note: during 1998, the exchange rate splintered into four distinct rates; in January 1999 the government floated the guilder, but subsequently fixed it when the black-market rate plunged; in January 2004, the government introduced the Surinamese dollar as replacement for the guilder, tied to a US dollar-dominated currency basket
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Suriname
Telephones - main lines in use:
81,300 (2004)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
212,800 (2004)
Telephone system:
general assessment: international facilities are good
domestic: microwave radio relay network
international: country code - 597; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 4, FM 13, shortwave 1 (1998)
Radios:
300,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
3 (plus seven repeaters) (2000)
Televisions:
63,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
.sr
Internet hosts:
122 (2005)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
2 (2000)
Internet users:
30,000 (2005)
Transportation Suriname
Airports:
47 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 5
over 3,047 m: 1
under 914 m: 4 (2006)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 42
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 5
under 914 m: 36 (2006)
Pipelines:
oil 51 km (2004)
Roadways:
total: 4,492 km
paved: 1,168 km
unpaved: 3,324 km (2002)
Waterways:
1,200 km (most navigable by ships with drafts up to 7 m) (2005)
Merchant marine:
total: 1 ships (1000 GRT or over) 1,078 GRT/1,214 DWT
by type: cargo 1 (2005)
Ports and terminals:
Paramaribo
Military Suriname
Military branches:
National Army (includes small navy and air force elements)
Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age (est.); no conscription
Manpower available for military service:
males age 18-49: 111,582
females age 18-49: 103,769 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 18-49: 77,793
females age 18-49: 72,943 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$7.5 million (2003 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
0.7% (2003 est.)
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

This page was last updated on 19 September, 2006