Region: South America

Capital: Paramaribo

Population: 529,400 (UNDP 2011)

Surface area: 163,270 sq km

Currency: Surinam dollar (SRD)

GDP per capita: Purchasing power parity US $9,500 (2011- CIA est.)

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, expanding to eight parties in 2005.

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. Economic growth, which reached about 7% in 2008, owing to sizeable foreign investment in mining and oil, slowed to 2.2% in 2009 as investment waned and the country earned less from its commodity exports when global prices for most commodities fell. Trade picked up, boosting Suriname’s economic growth in 2010 to 4.4%, but the government’s budget remained strained, with increased social spending during the election. Inflation rose from 1.3% in 2009 to 6.9% in 2010. In January 2011, the government devalued the currency by 20% and raised taxes to reduce the budget deficit. 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. (CIA, 2012)

Major Export Commodities: alumina, gold, crude oil, lumber, shrimp and fish, rice, bananas

Remittances:US $5 million  (World Bank 2011 est.)

Human Development Index 2011 ranking: 104 out of 187 countries

Official Development Assistance and Major Development Partners: Net ODA in US $104 million. Major development partners include: Netherlands, E.U. Institutions, Global Fund, France, IDB Sp. Fund (OECD 2010).

Total External Debt: US $504.3 million (2005 est.)

Life Expectancy at Birth: 70.6 years (UNDP 2011)

Environmental Indicators:

                                         Endangered Species (as a % of all species): 3

                                         Forested Area (percentage of land area): 94.6

                                         CO2 Emissions (tonnes per capita): 4.7

                                         (Data Source: UNDP 2011)

United Nations membership date: 4 December 1975     

New York Mission:
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Suriname to the United Nations
866 United Nations Plaza,
Suite 320

New York, N.Y.10017USA
Telephone: 212-826-0660, 0661, 0662, 0663
Fax: 212-980-7029


CIA World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency.

World Development Indicators. World Bank

Development, Recipient Aid Charts. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Human Development Report 2011.United Nations Development Programme.


Updated July 2012