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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 African slavery in 1863, workers were brought in from India and Java. The Netherlands granted the colony independence in 1975. Five years later the civilian government was replaced by a military regime that soon declared Suriname 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 coalition - returned to power in 1991. The coalition expanded to eight parties in 2005 and ruled until August 2010, when voters returned former military leader Desire BOUTERSE and his opposition coalition to power. President BOUTERSE was reelected unopposed in 2015.


Northern South America, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between French Guiana and Guyana

Natural Resources

timber, hydropower, fish, kaolin, shrimp, bauxite, gold, and small amounts of nickel, copper, platinum, iron ore

Population - distribution

population concentrated along the northern coastal strip; the remainder of the country is sparsely populated

Dutch (official), English (widely spoken), Sranang Tongo (Surinamese, sometimes called Taki-Taki, is the native language of Creoles and much of the younger population and is lingua franca among others), Caribbean Hindustani (a dialect of Hindi), Javanese
PARAMARIBO (capital) 234,000 (2014)
Conventional long form
Republic of Suriname
Conventional short form
Local long form
Republiek Suriname
Local short form
presidential republic
Geographic coordinates
5 50 N, 55 10 W
Time difference
UTC-3 (2 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
Suriname’s economy is dominated by the mining industry, with exports of oil and gold accounting for approximately 85% of exports and 27% of government revenues. This makes the economy highly vulnerable to mineral price volatility. The worldwide drop in international commodity prices and the cessation of alumina mining in Suriname significantly reduced government revenue and national income during the past few years. After 99 years of operations, a major US aluminum company recently discontinued its activities in Suriname. Public sector revenues fell, together with exports, international reserves, employment, and private sector investment.
Total tax rate (% of commercial profits)
Real Interest Rate
Manufacturing, value added (% of GDP)
Current Account Balance
US$ -156,833,622
Labor Force, Total
Employment in Agriculture
Employment in Industry
Employment in Services
Unemployment Rate
Imports of goods and services
US$ 1,780,802,346
Exports of goods and services
US$ 1,632,210,424
Total Merchandise Trade
FDI, net inflows
US$ 174,273,021
Commercial Service Exports
US$ 153,401,349
rice, bananas, palm kernels, coconuts, plantains, peanuts; beef, chickens; shrimp; forest products
bauxite and gold mining, alumina production; oil, lumbering, food processing, fishing
alumina, gold, crude oil, lumber, shrimp and fish, rice, bananas
Switzerland 21.9%, UAE 14.6%, India 13.5%, Belgium 9.7%, US 9%, France 8.1%, Canada 6.6% (2015)
capital equipment, petroleum, foodstuffs, cotton, consumer goods
US 26.7%, Netherlands 14.3%, China 12.2%, Trinidad and Tobago 7.4%, Japan 4.8% (2015)
Country Risk Rating
A very uncertain political and economic outlook and a business environment with many troublesome weaknesses can have a significant impact on corporate payment behavior. Corporate default probability is high.
Business Climate Rating
The business environment is difficult. Corporate financial information is often unavailable and when available often unreliable. Debt collection is unpredictable. The institutional framework has many troublesome weaknesses. Intercompany transactions run major risks in the difficult environments rated C.
  • Mineral resources and agricultural potential
  • Support from international donors and international investors
  • Dependence on oil, gold and aluminum
  • Poorly diversified economy
  • Scale of the informal economy (30 % of GDP) with casinos, alluvial digging and contraband
  • Problems with the management of public companies
  • Lack of transport infrastructure (roads, ports)
  • Difficult business climate, ineffective justice system

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