Suriname 1998Suriname

 Suriname | | | | | |
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Suriname - Introduction 1998
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Background: 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 brought about a democratic election.

Suriname - Geography 1998
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Location: Northern South America, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between French Guiana and Guyana

Geographic coordinates: 4 00 N, 56 00 W

Map referenceSouth America

Total: 163,270 km²
Land: 161,470 km²
Water: 1,800 km²
Comparative: slightly larger than Georgia

Land boundaries
Total: 1,707 km
Border countries: (3) 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

Extremes lowest point: unnamed location in the coastal plain -2 m
Extremes highest point: Wilhelmina Gebergte 1,286 m

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

Land use
Arable land: NA
Permanent crops: NA
Permanent pastures: 0%
Forests and woodland: 96%
Other: 4% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 600 km² (1993 est.)

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards: NA

Note: mostly tropical rain forest; great diversity of flora and fauna which for the most part is increasingly threatened by new development; relatively small population most of which lives along the coast

Suriname - People 1998
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Population: 427,980 (July 1998 est.)
Growth rate: 0.77% (1998 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 15.3%, "Maroons" (their African ancestors were brought to the country in the 17th and 18th centuries as slaves and escaped to the interior) 10.3%, Amerindian 2.6%, Chinese 1.7%, white 1%, other 1.1%

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

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

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure
0-14 years: 33% (male 72,945; female 69,468)
15-64 years: 62% (male 133,840; female 129,452)
65 years and over: 5% (male 10,309; female 11,966) (July 1998 est.)

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate: 0.77% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 22.48 births/1000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 5.79 deaths/1000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: -8.99 migrant(s)/1000 population (1998 est.)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: deforestation as timber is cut for export; pollution of inland waterways by small-scale mining activities
International agreements party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
International agreements signed but not ratified: Law of the Sea

Air pollutants

Sex ratio
At birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate: 27.44 deaths/1000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth
Total population: 70.61 years
Male: 68.05 years
Female: 73.29 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.59 children born/woman (1998 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access


Major infectious diseases

Obesity adult prevalence rate

Alcohol consumption

Tobacco use

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

Education expenditures

Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 93%
Male: 95%
Female: 91% (1995 est.)

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

Suriname - Government 1998
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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: republic

Capital: Paramaribo

Administrative divisions: 10 districts (distrikten, singular_distrikt; Brokopondo, Commewijne, Coronie, Marowijne, Nickerie, Para, Paramaribo, Saramacca, Sipaliwini, Wanica

Dependent areas

Independence: 25 November 1975 (from Netherlands)

National holiday: Independence Day, 25 November (1975)

Constitution: ratified 30 September 1987

Legal system: based on Dutch legal system incorporating French penal theory

International law organization participation


Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch
Chief of state: President Jules WIJDENBOSCH (since 14 September 1996); Vice President Pretaapnarian RADHAKISHUN (since 14 September 1996); note_the president is both the chief of state and head of government: ead of
Government: President Jules WIJDENBOSCH (since 14 September 1996); Vice President Pretaapnarian RADHAKISHUN (since 14 September 1996); 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
Note: First Advisor of State maintains significant power
Elections: president and vice president elected by the National Assembly or, if no presidential or vice presidential candidate receives a constitutional majority vote in the National Assembly after two votes, by the larger Peoples Assembly (the National Assembly members and 289 local and regional councillors), for five-year terms; election last held 23 May 1996; runoff election held 5 September 1996 (next to be held NA May 2001)
Election results: Jules WIJDENBOSCH elected president; percent of legislative vote NA; National Assembly failed to elect president; results reflect the People's Assembly votes_Jules WIJDENBOSCH (NDP) 438, Ronald VENETIAAN (NF) 407

Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly or National Assemblee (51 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
Elections: last held 23 May 1996 (next to be held NA May 2001)
Election results: percent of vote by party_NA; seats by party_NDP 16, NF 14, BVD 5, KTPI 5, Pendawa Lima 4, Alliance 3, DA '91 2, OPDA 2

Judicial branch: Supreme Court, justices nominated for life

Political parties and leaders

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 Arnold Theodoor HALFHIDE
In the us chancery: Suite 460, 4,301 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20,008
In the us telephone: [1] (202) 244-7,488
In the us fax: [1] (202) 244-5,878
In the us consulates general: Miami
From the us chief of mission: Ambassador Dennis K. HAYS
From the us embassy: Dr. Sophie Redmondstraat 129, Paramaribo
From the us mailing address: P. O. Box 1821, Paramaribo; pouch address:American Embassy Paramaribo, Department of State, Washington, DC, 20,521-3,390
From the us telephone: [597] 472,900, 477,881, 476,459
From the us fax: [597] 420,800

Flag descriptionflag of Suriname: 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

National symbols

National anthem

National heritage

Suriname - Economy 1998
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Economy overview: The economy is dominated by the bauxite industry, which accounts for more than 15% of GDP and 70% of export earnings. Following a dismal year in 1994_which saw the value of the Surinamese guilder plummet by about 70%, inflation rise to more than 600%, and national output fall for the fifth consecutive year_nearly all economic indicators improved in 1995-97. The VENETIAAN government unified the exchange rate as part of its structural adjustment program (SAP). After assuming power in the fall of 1996, the WIJDENBOSCH government ended the SAP claiming it was unfair to the poorer elements of society. Tax revenues fell as old taxes lapsed and the government failed to implement new tax alternatives. By the end of 1997, the allocation of new Dutch development funds was frozen as Surinamese government relations with Holland deteriorated. Suriname's economic prospects for the medium term will depend on renewed commitment to financially responsible monetary and fiscal policies.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate: 4% (1997 est.)

Real gdp per capita ppp

Gross national saving
Gdp composition by sector of origin

Gdp composition by end use

Gdp composition by sector of origin
Agriculture: 14%
Industry: 33%
Services: 53% (1994)

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

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

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

Labor force: NA
By occupation industry: NA%
By occupation services: NA%
Labor force

Unemployment rate: 20% (1997)

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share

Distribution of family income gini index

Revenues: $317 million
Expenditures: $333 million, including capital expenditures of $52 million (1997 est.)

Public debt

Taxes and other revenues


Fiscal year: calendar year

Current account balance

Inflation rate consumer prices

Central bank discount rate

Commercial bank prime lending rate

Stock of narrow money

Stock of broad money

Stock of domestic credit

Market value of publicly traded shares

Current account balance

Exports: total value:$434.3 million (f.o.b., 1996 est.)
Commodoties: alumina, aluminum, shrimp and fish, rice, bananas
Partners: Norway 33%, Netherlands 26%, US 13%, Japan 6%, Brazil 6%, UK 3% (1994)

Imports: total value:$490 million (f.o.b., 1997 est.)
Commodoties: capital equipment, petroleum, foodstuffs, cotton, consumer goods
Partners: US 40%, Netherlands 24%, Trinidad and Tobago 11%, Japan 3% (1994)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $216 million (1996 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: Surinamese guilders, gulden, or florins (Sf.) per US$1_central bank midpoint rate:401.00 (January 1998), 401.00 (1997), 401.26 (1996), 442.23 (1995), 134.12 (1994); parallel rate:412 (December 1995), 510 (December 1994), 109 (January 1994)
Note: beginning July 1994, the central bank midpoint exchange rate was unified and became market determined

Suriname - Energy 1998
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Electricity access

Electricity production: 1.601 billion kWh (1995)

Electricity consumption
Per capita: 3,727 kWh (1995)

Electricity exports

Electricity imports

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources


Refined petroleum

Natural gas

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita

Suriname - Communication 1998
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular

Telephone system: international facilities good
Domestic: microwave radio relay network
International: satellite earth stations_2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)

Broadcast media

Internet country code

Internet users

Broadband fixed subscriptions

Suriname - Military 1998
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Military expenditures
Dollar figure: $8.5 million (1997 est.)
Percent of gdp: 1.6% (1997 est.)

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

Suriname - Transportation 1998
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 45 (1997 est.)
With paved runways total: 5
With paved runways over 3047 m: 1
With paved runways under 914 m: 4 (1997 est.)
With unpaved runways total: 40
With unpaved runways 914 to 1523 m: 7
With unpaved runways under 914 m: 33 (1997 est.)

Airports with paved runways
Total: 5
Over 3047 m: 1
Under 914 m: 4 (1997 est.)

Airports with unpaved runways
Total: 40
914 to 1523 m: 7
Under 914 m: 33 (1997 est.)



Total: 166 km (single track)
Standard gauge: 80 km 1.435-m gauge
Narrow gauge: 86 km 1.000-m gauge


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

Merchant marine
Total: 2 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 2,421 GRT/2,990 DWT
Ships by type: cargo 1, container 1 (1996 est.)

Ports and terminals

Suriname - Transnational issues 1998
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Disputes international: claims area in French Guiana between Litani Rivier and Riviere Marouini (both headwaters of the Lawa Rivier; claims area in Guyana between New (Upper Courantyne) and Courantyne/Koetari [Kutari] Rivers (all headwaters of the Courantyne)

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs: transshipment point for South American drugs destined mostly for Europe


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