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Flag of Suriname
Map of Suriname
Introduction Suriname
Independence from Netherlands previously granted in 1975. Five years later civilian government previously 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 1989, military overthrew civilian government, but a democratically-elected government returned to power in 1991.
Geography Suriname
Northern South America, bordering North Atlantic Ocean, between French Guiana and Guyana
Geographic coordinates:
4 00 N, 56 00 W
Map references:
South America
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
386 km
Maritime claims:
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
tropical; moderated by trade winds
mostly rolling hills; narrow coastal plain with swamps
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: unnamed location in coastal plain -2 m
highest point: Juliana Top 1,230 m
Natural resources:
timber, hydropower, fish, kaolin, shrimp, bauxite, gold, and limited amounts of nickel, copper, platinum, iron ore
Land use:
arable land: 0.37%
permanent crops: 0.06%
note: there are 95,000 hectares of arable land, 7,000 hectares of permanent crops, and 15,000 hectares of permanent pastures (1998 est.)
other: 99.57%
Irrigated land:
490 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
Environment - current issues:
deforestation as timber is cut for export; pollution of inland waterways by limited -scale mining activities
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of selected agreements
Geography - note:
smallest independent country on South American continent; mostly tropical rain forest; great diversity of flora and fauna that, for most part, is increasingly threatened by new development; relatively limited population, mostly along coast
People Suriname
Total Population:
435,449 (July 2003 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 30.7% (male 68,536; female 65,165)
15-64 years: 63.3% (male 141,048; female 134,699)
65 years and over: 6% (male 11,686; female 14,315) (2003 est.)
Median age:
total: 25.5 years
male: 25.1 years
female: 26 years (2002)
Population growth rate:
0.37% (2003 est.)
Birth rate:
19.4 births/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Death rate:
6.83 deaths/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Net migration rate:
-8.84 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.82 male(s)/female
Population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2003 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 24.74 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 20.34 deaths/1,000 live births (2003 est.)
male: 28.93 deaths/1,000 live births
Life Expectancy:
Population: 69.23 years
male: 66.79 years
female: 71.78 years (2003 est.)
Total fertility rate:
2.4 children born/woman (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
1.2% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
3,700 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
330 (2001 est.)
noun: Surinamer(s)
adjective: Surinamese
Ethnic groups:
Hindustani (also known locally as "East Indians"; their ancestors emigrated from northern India in latter part of 19th century) 37%, Creole (mixed white and black) 31%, Javanese 15%, "Maroons" (their African ancestors were brought to country in 17th and 18th centuries as slaves and escaped to interior) 10%, Amerindian 2%, Chinese 2%, white 1%, other 2%
Hindu 27.4%, Muslim 19.6%, Roman Catholic 22.8%, Protestant 25.2% (predominantly Moravian), indigenous beliefs 5%
Dutch (official), English (widely spoken), Sranang Tongo (Surinamese, occasionally called Taki-Taki, is native language of Creoles and much of younger population and is lingua franca among others), Hindustani (a dialect of Hindi), Javanese
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Population: 93%
male: 95%
female: 91% (1995 est.)
Government Suriname
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Suriname
conventional short form: Suriname
local short form: Suriname
former: Netherlands Guiana, Dutch Guiana
local long form: Republiek Suriname
Government type:
constitutional democracy
Administrative divisions:
10 districts (distrikten, singular - distrikt); Brokopondo, Commewijne, Coronie, Marowijne, Nickerie, Para, Paramaribo, Saramacca, Sipaliwini, Wanica
25 November 1975 (from Netherlands)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 25 November (1975)
ratified 30 September 1987
Legal system:
based on Dutch legal system incorporating French penal theory
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Runaldo Ronald VENETIAAN (since 12 August 2000); Vice President Jules Rattankoemar AJODHIA (since 12 August 2000); note - president is both chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Runaldo Ronald VENETIAAN (since 12 August 2000); Vice President Jules Rattankoemar AJODHIA (since 12 August 2000); note - president is both chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers appointed by president from among members of National Assembly
elections: president and vice president elected by National Assembly or, if no presidential or vice presidential candidate receives a constitutional majority in National Assembly after two votes, by larger People's Assembly (869 representatives from national, local, and regional councils), for five-year terms; election last held 6 May 2000 (next to be held NA May 2005)
election results: Runaldo Ronald VENETIAAN elected president by National Assembly; percent of legislative vote - Runaldo Ronald VENETIAAN 72.5%; Rashied DOEKHIE (NDP) 19.6%; total votes cast - Runaldo Ronald VENETIAAN (New Front) 37 votes, Rashied DOEKHIE (NDP) 10 votes
note: widespread demonstrations during summer of 1999 led to call for elections a year early
Legislative branch:
unicameral National Assembly or Nationale Assemblee (51 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - NF 33, MC 10, DNP 2000 3, DA '91 2, PVF 2, PALU 1
note: widespread demonstrations during summer of 1999 led to call for elections a year early
elections: last held 5 May 2000 (next to be held NA May 2005)
Judicial branch:
Court of Justice (justices are nominated for life)
Political parties and leaders:
Democratic Alternative '91 or DA '91 (a coalition of Alternative Forum or AF and Party for Brotherhood and Unity in Politics or BEP, formed in January 1991) [Winston JESSURUN]; Democratic National Platform 2000 or DNP 2000 (coalition of two parties, Democratic Party and Democrats of 21st Century) [Jules WIJDENBOSCH]; Independent Progressive Democratic Alternative or OPDA [Joginder RAMKHILAWAN]; Millennium Combination or MC (a coalition of three parties, Democratic Alternative, Party for National Unity and Solidarity, and National Democratic Party) [leader NA]; National Democratic Party or NDP [Desire BOUTERSE]; Naya Kadam or NK [leader NA]; Party for Renewal and Democracy or BVD [Tjan GOBARDHAN]; Party of National Unity and Solidarity or KTPI [Willy SOEMITA]; Pertjaja Luhur [Paul SOMOHARDJO]; Progressive Workers' and Farm Laborers' Union or PALU [Ir Iwan KROLIS]; New Front or NF (a coalition of four parties Suriname National Party or NPS, Progressive Reform Party or VHP, Suriname Labor Party or SPA, and Pertjaja Luhur) [Runaldo Ronald VENETIAAN]; Progressive Development Alliance (a combination of three parties, Renewed Progressive Party or HPP, Party of Federation of Land Workers or PVF, and Suriname Progressive People's Party or PSV) [Harry KISOENSINGH]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
General Liberation and Development Party or ABOP [Ronnie BRUNSWIJK]; Mandela Bushnegro Liberation Movement [Leendert ADAMS]; Tucayana Amazonica [Alex JUBITANA, Thomas SABAJO]; Union for Liberation and Democracy [Kofi AFONGPONG]
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Henry Lothar ILLES
FAX: [1] (202) 244-5878
consulate(s) general: Miami
telephone: [1] (202) 244-7488
chancery: Suite 460, 4301 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
Diplomatic representation from US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Daniel A. JOHNSON
embassy: Dr. Sophie Redmondstraat 129, Paramaribo
mailing address: Department of State, 3390 Paramaribo Place, Washington, DC, 20521-3390
telephone: [597] 472900
FAX: [597] 420800
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 red band
Economy Suriname
Economy - overview:
economy is dominated by bauxite industry, which accounts for more than 15% of GDP and 70% of export earnings. Suriname's economic prospects for medium term will depend on renewed commitment to responsible monetary and fiscal policies and to introduction of structural reforms to liberalize markets and promote competition. government of Ronald VENETIAAN has begun an austerity program, raised taxes, and attempted to control spending. However, in 2002, President VENETIAAN agreed to a large pay raise for civil servants, which threatens his earlier gains in stabilizing economy. Dutch Government has agreed to restart aid flow, which will allow Suriname to access international development financing. short-term economic outlook depends on government's ability to control inflation and on development of projects in bauxite and gold mining sectors.
buying power parity - $1.469 billion (2002 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
1.2% (2002 est.)
GDP - per capita:
buying power parity - $3,400 (2002 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 13%
industry: 22%
services: 65% (2001 est.)
Population below poverty line:
70% (2002 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
17% (2002 est.)
Labor force:
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture NA%, industry NA%, services NA%
Unemployment rate:
17% (2000)
revenues: $393 million
expenditures: $403 million, includes capital expenditures of $34 million (1997 est.)
bauxite and gold mining, alumina production, oil, lumbering, food processing, fishing
Industrial production growth rate:
6.5% (1994 est.)
Electricity - production:
1.959 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 25.2%
hydro: 74.8%
other: 0% (2001)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
1.822 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
10,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
10,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
NA (2001)
Oil - imports:
NA (2001)
Oil - proved reserves:
37 million bbl (37257)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
0 cu m (37257)
Agriculture - products:
paddy rice, bananas, palm kernels, coconuts, plantains, peanuts; beef, chickens; forest products; shrimp
$445 million f.o.b. (2002)
Exports - commodities:
alumina, crude oil, lumber, shrimp and fish, rice, bananas
Exports - partners:
US 25.3%, Norway 20.4%, France 8.2%, Trinidad and Tobago 6.4%, Iceland 6%, Canada 5.9%, Netherlands 5.6% (2002)
$300 million f.o.b. (2002)
Imports - commodities:
capital equipment, petroleum, foodstuffs, cotton, consumer goods
Imports - partners:
US 22.2%, Netherlands 15.6%, China 11.9%, Trinidad and Tobago 11.2%, France 7.5%, Netherlands Antilles 7.2%, Japan 5.7% (2002)
Debt - external:
$321 million (2002 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
Netherlands provided $37 million for project and program assistance, European Development Fund $4 million, Belgium $2 million (1998)
Surinamese guilder (SRG)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Surinamese guilders per US dollar - 2,346.75 (2002), 2,178.5 (2001), 1,322.47 (2000), 859.44 (1999), 401 (1998)
note: during 1998, exchange rate splintered into four distinct rates; in January 1999 government floated guilder, but subsequently fixed it when black-market rate plunged; government currently allows trading within a band of SRG 500 around official rate
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Suriname
Telephones - main lines in use:
64,000 (1997)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
4,090 (1997)
Telephone system:
general assessment: international facilities are good
domestic: microwave radio relay network
international: satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 4, FM 13, shortwave 1 (1998)
300,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
3 (plus seven repeaters) (2000)
63,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
2 (2000)
Internet users:
14,500 (2002)
Transportation Suriname
total: 166 km (single-track)
standard gauge: 80 km 1.435-m gauge
note: Suriname railroads are not in operation (2001)
narrow gauge: 86 km 1.000-m gauge
total: 4,492 km
paved: 1,168 km
unpaved: 3,324 km (2000)
1,200 km
note: most important means of transport; oceangoing vessels with drafts ranging up to 7 m can navigate many of principal waterways
oil 51 km (2003)
Ports and harbors:
Albina, Moengo, New Nickerie, Paramaribo, Paranam, Wageningen
Merchant marine:
total: 2 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 2,421 GRT/2,990 DWT
ships by type: cargo 1, container 1 (2002 est.)
46 (2002)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 5
over 3,047 m: 1
under 914 m: 4 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 41
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 5
under 914 m: 35 (2002)
Military Suriname
Military branches:
National Army (including limited Navy and Air Force elements), Civil Police
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 123,159 (2003 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 72,039 (2003 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
1.6% (FY97 est.)
Transnational Issues Suriname
Disputes - international:
area disputed by French Guiana between Riviere Litani and Riviere Marouini (both headwaters of Lawa); area disputed by Guyana between New (Upper Courantyne) and Courantyne/Koetari [Kutari] rivers (all headwaters of Courantyne); territorial sea boundary with Guyana is in dispute
Illicit drugs:
growing transshipment point for South American drugs destined for Europe and Brazil; transshipment point for arms-for-drugs dealing