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Countries > Suriname Suriname Flag

Languages   7 languages are spoken in Suriname. We have 140 products available for 6 of those languages.

Capital: Paramaribo
Population: 430,000
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Suriname Map


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

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:
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 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: Wilhelmina Gebergte 1,286 m

Natural resources: timber, hydropower potential, fish, shrimp, bauxite, iron ore, and small amounts of nickel, copper, platinum, gold

Land use:
arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 0%
forests and woodland: 96%
other : 4% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land: 490 sq km (1998 est.)

Natural hazards: NA

Environment - current issues: deforestation as timber is cut for export

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Endangered Species, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Climate Change, Law of the Sea

Geography - note: mostly tropical rain forest; great diversity of flora and fauna which for the most part is not threatened because of the lack of development; relatively small population most of which lives along the coast


Population: 436,494 (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:
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: 0.55% (2002 est.)

Birth rate: 19.97 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate: 5.67 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate:-8.82 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 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: 0.83 male(s)/female
total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 23.48 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 71.9 years
male: 69.23 years
female: 74.7 years (2002 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.44 children born/woman (2002 est.)

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%, Muslim 19.6%, Roman Catholic 22.8%, Protestant 25.2% (predominantly Moravian), 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

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 93%
male: 95%
female: 91% (1995 est.)


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

Data code: NS

Government type: constitutional democracy

National capital: Paramaribo

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: NA

Suffrage: 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 - 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: unicameral National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (51 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections : last held 5 May 2000 (next to be held NA May 2005)
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

Judicial branch: Supreme Court, justices nominated for life

Political parties and leaders: 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: 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: ACP, Caricom, ECLAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IFAD, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat (nonsignatory user), Interpol, IOC, ITU, LAES, NAM, OAS, OIC, OPANAL, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Henry Lothar ILLES
chancery: Suite 108, 4301 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 244-7488, 7490 through 7492
FAX : [1] (202) 244-5878
consulate(s) general: Miami

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Daniel A. JOHNSON
embassy: Dr. Sophie Redmondstraat 129, Paramaribo
mailing address : P. O. Box 1821, American Embassy Paramaribo, Department of State, Washington, DC, 20521-3390
telephone: [597] 472900, 477881, 476459
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 the red band


Economy - overview: 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.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $1.5 billion (2000 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: -5.5% (2000 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity -$3,500 (2000 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 13%
industry : 22%
services: 65% (1998 est.)

Inflation rate - consumer price index: 59% (2000)

Labor force: 100,000
by occupation: agriculture, industry, services

Unemployment rate: 20% (1997)

revenues: $393 million
expenditures: $403 million, including capital expenditures of $34 million (1997 est.)

Industries: bauxite and gold mining, alumina and aluminum production, lumbering, food processing, fishing

Industrial production growth rate: 6.5% (1994 est.)

Electricity - capacity: 389,000 kW 000 kW

Electricity - production: 1.407 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - consumption per capita: 1.309 billion kWh (2000)

Agriculture - products: paddy rice, bananas, palm kernels, coconuts, plantains, peanuts; beef, chicken; forest products and shrimp of increasing importance

total value:$399 million (f.o.b., 2000)
commodities: alumina, aluminum, shrimp and fish, rice, bananas
partners: US 23%, Norway 19%, Netherlands 11%, France, Japan, UK (1999)

total value: $525 million (f.o.b., 1999)
commodities : capital equipment, petroleum, foodstuffs, cotton, consumer goods
partners:US 35%, Netherlands 15%, Trinidad and Tobago 12%, Japan, UK, Brazil (1999)

Debt - external: $512 million (2000 est.)

Economic aid:
recipient:Netherlands provided $37 million for project and program assistance, European Development Fund $4 million, Belgium $2 million (1998)

Currency: 1 Surinamese guilder, gulden, or florin (SRG) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: 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: calendar year


Telephones: 64,000 (1997)

Telephone system: international facilities good
domestic: microwave radio relay network
international : 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)


total: 166 km (single track)
standard gauge: 80 km 1.435-m gauge
narrow gauge: 86 km 1.000-m gauge(2001)

total: 4,530 km
paved : 1,178 km
unpaved:3,352 km (1996)

Waterways: 1,200 km; most important means of transport; oceangoing vessels with drafts ranging up to 7 m can navigate many of the principal waterways

Ports and harbors: Albina, Moengo, New Nickerie, Paramaribo, Paranam, Wageningen

Merchant marine:
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.)

Airports: 46 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 5
over 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 4 (2001)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total : 41
1,524 to 2,437m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 6 (1996 est.)


Military branches: National Army (includes small Navy and Air Force elements), Civil Police

Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 123,072 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:
males:72,059 (2002 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure: $NA

Military expenditures - percent of GDP:1.6% (FY97 est.)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international: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: transshipment point for South American drugs destined mostly for Europe

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