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  Transnational Issues

In general, information available as of 1 January 2002
was used in the preparation of The World Factbook 2002.

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003

Map of Suriname

Legend: Definition Definition Field Listing Field Listing
   Introduction    Suriname
Definition Field Listing
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 1989, the military overthrew the civilian government, but a democratically-elected government returned to power in 1991.
   Geography    Suriname
Definition Field Listing
Northern South America, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between French Guiana and Guyana
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
4 00 N, 56 00 W
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
South America
Definition Field Listing
total: 163,270 sq km
land: 161,470 sq km
water: 1,800 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
slightly larger than Georgia
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
total: 1,707 km
border countries: Brazil 597 km, French Guiana 510 km, Guyana 600 km
Definition Field Listing
386 km
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
Definition Field Listing
tropical; moderated by trade winds
Definition Field Listing
mostly rolling hills; narrow coastal plain with swamps
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: unnamed location in the coastal plain -2 m
highest point: Juliana Top 1,230 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
timber, hydropower, fish, kaolin, shrimp, bauxite, gold, and small amounts of nickel, copper, platinum, iron ore
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
490 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing
deforestation as timber is cut for export; pollution of inland waterways by small-scale mining activities
Environment - international agreements:
Definition Field Listing
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
Definition Field Listing
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
Definition Field Listing
436,494 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 31.1% (male 69,642; female 66,262)
15-64 years: 63.1% (male 140,745; female 134,494)
65 years and over: 5.8% (male 11,480; female 13,871) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
0.55% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing
19.97 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing
5.67 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
-8.82 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
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: 0.83 male(s)/female
total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing
23.48 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing
total population: 71.9 years
female: 74.7 years (2002 est.)
male: 69.23 years
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing
2.44 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing
1.26% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing
3,000 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing
83 (2002 est.)
Definition Field Listing
noun: Surinamer(s)
adjective: Surinamese
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
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%
Definition Field Listing
Hindu 27.4%, Muslim 19.6%, Roman Catholic 22.8%, Protestant 25.2% (predominantly Moravian), indigenous beliefs 5%
Definition Field Listing
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
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 93%
male: 95%
female: 91% (1995 est.)
   Government    Suriname
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
constitutional democracy
Definition Field Listing
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
10 districts (distrikten, singular - distrikt); Brokopondo, Commewijne, Coronie, Marowijne, Nickerie, Para, Paramaribo, Saramacca, Sipaliwini, Wanica
Definition Field Listing
25 November 1975 (from Netherlands)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
Independence Day, 25 November (1975)
Definition Field Listing
ratified 30 September 1987
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing
based on Dutch legal system incorporating French penal theory
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
chief of state: President Runaldo Ronald VENETIAAN (since 12 August 2000); Vice President Jules Rattankoemar AJODHIA (since 12 August 2000); 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 Jules Rattankoemar AJODHIA (since 12 August 2000); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers appointed by the president from among the members of the National Assembly
elections: president and vice president elected by the National Assembly or, if no presidential or vice presidential candidate receives a constitutional majority in the National Assembly after two votes, by the larger People's Assembly (869 representatives from the 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 the 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 the summer of 1999 led to the call for elections a year early
Legislative branch:
Definition Field Listing
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 the summer of 1999 led to the call for elections a year early
elections: last held 5 May 2000 (next to be held NA May 2005)
Judicial branch:
Definition Field Listing
Court of Justice (justices are nominated for life)
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
Democratic Alternative '91 or DA '91 (a coalition of the Alternative Forum or AF and Party for Brotherhood and Unity in Politics or BEP, formed in January 1991) [S. RAMKHELAWAN]; Democratic National Platform 2000 or DNP 2000 (coalition of two parties, Democratic Party and Democrats of the 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]; The 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]; The Progressive Development Alliance (a combination of three parties, Renewed Progressive Party or HPP, Party of the Federation of Land Workers or PVF, and Suriname Progressive People's Party or PSV) [Harry KISOENSINGH]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
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 the US:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
The economy is dominated by the bauxite industry, which accounts for more than 15% of GDP and 70% of export earnings. Suriname's economic prospects for the medium term will depend on renewed 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 has begun an austerity program, raised taxes, and attempted to control spending. The Dutch Government has restarted the aid flow, which will allow Suriname to access international development financing.
Definition Field Listing
purchasing power parity - $1.5 billion (2000 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
-5.5% (2000 est.)
GDP - per capita:
Definition Field Listing
purchasing power parity - $3,500 (2000 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 13%
industry: 22%
services: 65% (1998 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing
59% (2000) (2000)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture NA%, industry NA%, services NA%
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing
20% (1997) (1997)
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $393 million
expenditures: $403 million, including capital expenditures of $34 million
Definition Field Listing
bauxite and gold mining, alumina production, oil, lumbering, food processing, fishing
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
6.5% (1994 est.)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing
1.407 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
Definition Field Listing
fossil fuel: 36%
hydro: 64%
other: 0% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing
1.309 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
paddy rice, bananas, palm kernels, coconuts, plantains, peanuts; beef, chickens; forest products; shrimp
Definition Field Listing
$399 million f.o.b. (2000)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
alumina, crude oil, lumber, shrimp and fish, rice, bananas
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
US 23%, Norway 19%, Netherlands 11%, France, Japan, UK (1999)
Definition Field Listing
$525 million f.o.b. (1999)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
capital equipment, petroleum, foodstuffs, cotton, consumer goods
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
US 35%, Netherlands 15%, Trinidad and Tobago 12%, Japan, UK, Brazil (1999)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing
$512 million (2000 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
Netherlands provided $37 million for project and program assistance, European Development Fund $4 million, Belgium $2 million (1998)
Definition Field Listing
Surinamese guilder (SRG)
Currency code:
Definition Field Listing
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
Surinamese guilders per US dollar - 2,178.50 (2001), 2,178.50 (2000), 987.50 (1999), 401.00 (1998), 401.00 (1997); note - yearend rates
note: beginning in July 1994, the central bank midpoint exchange rate was unified and became market determined; 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; the government currently allows trading within a band of SRG 500 around the official rate
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
calendar year
   Communications    Suriname
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing
64,000 (1997)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing
4,090 (1997)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
general assessment: international facilities are good
domestic: microwave radio relay network
international: satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
AM 4, FM 13, shortwave 1 (1998)
Definition Field Listing
300,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
3 (plus seven repeaters) (2000)
Definition Field Listing
63,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
Definition Field Listing
2 (2000)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing
14,500 (2002)
   Transportation    Suriname
Definition Field Listing
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
Definition Field Listing
total: 4,530 km
paved: 1,178 km
unpaved: 3,352 km (1996)
Definition Field Listing
1,200 km
note: most important means of transport; oceangoing vessels with drafts ranging up to 7 m can navigate many of the principal waterways
Ports and harbors:
Definition Field Listing
Albina, Moengo, New Nickerie, Paramaribo, Paranam, Wageningen
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing
total: 3 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 3,432 GRT/4,525 DWT
ships by type: cargo 1, container 1, petroleum tanker 1 (2002 est.)
Definition Field Listing
46 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 5
over 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 4 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 41
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 5
under 914 m: 35 (2002)
   Military    Suriname
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
National Army (including small Navy and Air Force elements), Civil Police
Military manpower - availability:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 123,072 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 72,059 (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Definition Field Listing
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing
1.6% (FY97 est.)
   Transnational Issues    Suriname
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
area disputed by French Guiana between Riviere Litani and Riviere Marouini (both headwaters of the Lawa); area disputed by Guyana between New (Upper Courantyne) and Courantyne/Koetari [Kutari] rivers (all headwaters of the Courantyne); territorial sea boundary with Guyana is in dispute
Illicit drugs:
Definition Field Listing
growing transshipment point for South American drugs destined for Europe and Brazil; transshipment point for arms-for-drugs dealing

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003

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