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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 New Front coalition - returned to power in 1991 and has ruled since; the coalition expanded to eight parties in 2005.

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: 163,820 sq km
country comparison to the world: 91
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

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

Current Weather
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 (2003)

Total renewable water resources:
122 cu km (2003)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 0.67 cu km/yr (4%/3%/93%)
per capita: 1,489 cu m/yr (2000)

Natural hazards:

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

486,618 (July 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 172

Age structure:
0-14 years: 26.8% (male 66,648/female 63,874)
15-64 years: 66.9% (male 161,990/female 163,367)
65 years and over: 6.3% (male 13,158/female 17,581) (2010 est.)

Median age:
total: 28.3 years
male: 27.9 years
female: 28.7 years (2010 est.)

Population growth rate:
1.108% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 114

Birth rate:
16.61 births/1,000 population (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 125

Death rate:
5.53 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 175

Net migration rate:
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 80

urban population: 75% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 1% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)

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 (2010 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 18.19 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 105
male: 21.48 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 14.67 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 73.98 years
country comparison to the world: 103
male: 71.24 years
female: 76.91 years (2010 est.)

Total fertility rate:
1.97 children born/woman (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 132

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
2.4% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 27

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
6,800 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 116

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
fewer than 500 (2003 est.)
country comparison to the world: 93

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)

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%

Hindu 27.4%, Protestant 25.2% (predominantly Moravian), Roman Catholic 22.8%, Muslim 19.6%, indigenous beliefs 5%

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

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 89.6%
male: 92%
female: 87.2% (2004 census)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 12 years
male: 11 years
female: 13 years (2002)

Education expenditures:

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:
based on Dutch legal system incorporating French penal theory; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Runaldo Ronald VENETIAAN (since 12 August 2000); Vice President Ramdien 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)
cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers appointed by the president
(For more information visit the World Leaders website )
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 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 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 - NA; seats by party - NA; note - official election results pending

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:
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 that includes A-Combination or A-Com, Democratic Alternative 1991 or DA-91, an independent, business-oriented party [Winston JESSURUN], National Party Suriname or NPS [Ronald VENETIAAN], United Reform Party or VHP [Ramdien 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:

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Jacques Ruben Constantijn KROSS
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

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 6% in 2007 and 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 contracted in 2009, however, as investment waned and the country earned less from its commodity exports when global prices for most commodities fell. As trade picks up, Suriname's economic outlook for 2010 has improved, but the government's budget is likely to remain strained, with increased social spending in this election year. 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):
$4.274 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 163
$4.37 billion (2008 est.)
$4.123 billion (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):
$3.184 billion (2009 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:
-2.2% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 149
6% (2008 est.)
5.3% (2007 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$9,000 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 113
$9,200 (2008 est.)
$8,800 (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 10.8%
industry: 24.4%
services: 64.8% (2005 est.)

Labor force:
165,600 (2007)
country comparison to the world: 177

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 8%
industry: 14%
services: 78% (2004)

Unemployment rate:
9.5% (2004)
country comparison to the world: 114

Population below poverty line:
70% (2002 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

revenues: $392.6 million
expenditures: $425.9 million (2004)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
6.4% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 159

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
12.23% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 96
9.71% (31 December 2007)

Stock of money:
$484.7 million (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 130
$416.6 million (31 December 2007)

Stock of quasi money:
$1.018 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 117
$824.4 million (31 December 2007)

Stock of domestic credit:
$793.1 million (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 118
$651 million (31 December 2007)

Market value of publicly traded shares:

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.)
country comparison to the world: 15

Electricity - production:
1.605 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 138

Electricity - consumption:
1.467 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 140

Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2008 est.)

Oil - production:
15,190 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 79

Oil - consumption:
14,000 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 141

Oil - exports:
4,308 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 109

Oil - imports:
6,296 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 151

Oil - proved reserves:
79.6 million bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 72

Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 124

Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 174

Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 118

Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 128

Natural gas - proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 129

Current account balance:
$24 million (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 56

$1.391 billion (2006 est.)
country comparison to the world: 138

Exports - commodities:
alumina, gold, crude oil, lumber, shrimp and fish, rice, bananas

Exports - partners:
Canada 35.47%, Belgium 14.92%, US 10.15%, UAE 9.87%, Norway 4.92%, Netherlands 4.7%, France 4.47% (2009)

$1.297 billion (2006 est.)
country comparison to the world: 164

Imports - commodities:
capital equipment, petroleum, foodstuffs, cotton, consumer goods

Imports - partners:
US 30.79%, Netherlands 19.17%, Trinidad and Tobago 13.04%, China 6.8%, Japan 5.85% (2009)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$263.3 million (2006)
country comparison to the world: 146

Debt - external:
$504.3 million (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 159

Exchange rates:
Surinamese dollars (SRD) per US dollar - 2.745 (2007), 2.745 (2006), 2.7317 (2005), 2.7336 (2004), 2.6013 (2003)
note: in January 2004, the government replaced the guilder with the Surinamese dollar, tied to a US dollar-dominated currency basket

Telephones - main lines in use:
81,500 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 148

Telephones - mobile cellular:
416,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 159

Telephone system:
general assessment: international facilities are good
domestic: combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity exceed 100 telephones per 100 persons; microwave radio relay network
international: country code - 597; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 4, FM 23, shortwave 3 (2008)

Television broadcast stations:
3 (plus 7 repeaters) (2000)

Internet country code:

Internet hosts:
162 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 193

Internet users:
50,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 170

50 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 91

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 5
over 3,047 m: 1
under 914 m: 4 (2009)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 45
914 to 1,523 m: 5
under 914 m: 40 (2009)

oil 50 km (2009)

total: 4,304 km
country comparison to the world: 154
paved: 1,130 km
unpaved: 3,174 km (2003)

1,200 km (most navigable by ships with drafts up to 7 m) (2008)
country comparison to the world: 60

Merchant marine:
total: 1
country comparison to the world: 154
by type: cargo 1 (2008)

Ports and terminals:
Paramaribo, Wageningen

Military branches:
National Army (Nationaal Leger, NL; includes Naval Wing), Air Force (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: 133,417
females age 16-49: 133,487 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 108,555
females age 16-49: 111,927 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 4,046
female: 4,056 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures:
0.6% of GDP (2006 est.)
country comparison to the world: 157

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


Information from the CIA's "The World Fact Book" 2010




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