Photos of Suriname

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Introduction

Background

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. Opposition parties campaigned hard against BOUTERSE in the lead up to the May 2020 elections and, in July 2020, a multi-party coalition led by Chandrikapersad SANTOKHI’s VHP and Ronnie Brunswijk’s ABOP was installed. The SANTOKHI government promised to tackle COVID-19, the economic crisis it inherited, and corruption.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.

Geography

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

Area

total: 163,820 sq km

land: 156,000 sq km

water: 7,820 sq km

comparison ranking: total 92

Area - comparative

slightly larger than Georgia

Area comparison map:
Area comparison map

Land boundaries

total: 1,907 km

border countries (3): Brazil 515 km; French Guiana 556 km; Guyana 836 km

Coastline

386 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

Climate

tropical; moderated by trade winds

Terrain

mostly rolling hills; narrow coastal plain with swamps

Elevation

highest point: Juliana Top 1,230 m

lowest point: unnamed location in the coastal plain -2 m

mean elevation: 246 m

Natural resources

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

Land use

agricultural land: 0.5% (2018 est.)

arable land: 0.4% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 0.1% (2018 est.)

forest: 94.6% (2018 est.)

other: 4.9% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

600 sq km (2020)

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Atlantic Ocean drainage: Amazon (6,145,186 sq km)

Population distribution

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

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

People and Society

Population

639,759 (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 170

Nationality

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) 27.4%, Maroon (their African ancestors were brought to the country in the 17th and 18th centuries as slaves and escaped to the interior) 21.7%, Creole (mixed White and Black) 15.7%, Javanese 13.7%, mixed 13.4%, other 7.6%, unspecified 0.6% (2012 est.)

Languages

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

major-language sample(s):
Het Wereld Feitenboek, een omnisbare bron van informatie. (Dutch)

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information. (English)

Religions

Protestant 23.6% (includes Evangelical 11.2%, Moravian 11.2%, Reformed 0.7%, Lutheran 0.5%), Hindu 22.3%, Roman Catholic 21.6%, Muslim 13.8%, other Christian 3.2%, Winti 1.8%, Jehovah's Witness 1.2%, other 1.7%, none 7.5%, unspecified 3.2% (2012 est.)

Demographic profile

Suriname is a pluralistic society consisting primarily of Creoles (persons of mixed African and European heritage), the descendants of escaped African slaves known as Maroons, and the descendants of Indian and Javanese (Indonesian) contract workers. The country overall is in full, post-industrial demographic transition, with a low fertility rate, a moderate mortality rate, and a rising life expectancy. However, the Maroon population of the rural interior lags behind because of lower educational attainment and contraceptive use, higher malnutrition, and significantly less access to electricity, potable water, sanitation, infrastructure, and health care.

Some 350,000 people of Surinamese descent live in the Netherlands, Suriname's former colonial ruler. In the 19th century, better-educated, largely Dutch-speaking Surinamese began emigrating to the Netherlands. World War II interrupted the outflow, but it resumed after the war when Dutch labor demands grew - emigrants included all segments of the Creole population. Suriname still is strongly influenced by the Netherlands because most Surinamese have relatives living there and it is the largest supplier of development aid. Other emigration destinations include French Guiana and the United States. Suriname's immigration rules are flexible, and the country is easy to enter illegally because rainforests obscure its borders. Since the mid-1980s, Brazilians have settled in Suriname's capital, Paramaribo, or eastern Suriname, where they mine gold. This immigration is likely to slowly re-orient Suriname toward its Latin American roots.

Age structure

0-14 years: 22.77% (male 73,914/female 71,762)

15-64 years: 69.96% (male 223,807/female 223,762)

65 years and over: 7.27% (2023 est.) (male 19,152/female 27,362)

2023 population pyramid:
2023 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 50.9

youth dependency ratio: 40

elderly dependency ratio: 11

potential support ratio: 9.1 (2021 est.)

Median age

total: 31.6 years (2023 est.)

male: 30.7 years

female: 32.6 years

comparison ranking: total 118

Population growth rate

1.11% (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 85

Birth rate

15.2 births/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 111

Death rate

6.6 deaths/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 134

Net migration rate

2.5 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 49

Population distribution

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

Urbanization

urban population: 66.4% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 0.88% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Major urban areas - population

239,000 PARAMARIBO (capital) (2018)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.03 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.7 male(s)/female

total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2023 est.)

Maternal mortality ratio

96 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 71

Infant mortality rate

total: 29.9 deaths/1,000 live births (2023 est.)

male: 38 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 21.3 deaths/1,000 live births

comparison ranking: total 51

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 72.6 years (2023 est.)

male: 68.9 years

female: 76.5 years

comparison ranking: total population 155

Total fertility rate

1.91 children born/woman (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 119

Gross reproduction rate

0.92 (2023 est.)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 99.5% of population

rural: 98.2% of population

total: 99.1% of population

unimproved: urban: 0.5% of population

rural: 1.8% of population

total: 0.9% of population (2020 est.)

Current health expenditure

6.8% of GDP (2020)

Physicians density

0.82 physicians/1,000 population (2018)

Hospital bed density

3 beds/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 98.5% of population

rural: 91.2% of population

total: 96% of population

unimproved: urban: 1.5% of population

rural: 8.8% of population

total: 4% of population (2020 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: very high (2023)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: malaria

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

26.4% (2016)

comparison ranking: 41

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 6.6 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 3.4 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 0.14 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 2.87 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 0.18 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total 62

Child marriage

women married by age 15: 8.8%

women married by age 18: 36%

men married by age 18: 19.6% (2018 est.)

Education expenditures

5% of GDP (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 74

Literacy

definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 95%

male: 96.5%

female: 93.4% (2021)

Environment

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, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping-London Convention, Marine Dumping-London Protocol, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 2006, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Climate

tropical; moderated by trade winds

Land use

agricultural land: 0.5% (2018 est.)

arable land: 0.4% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 0.1% (2018 est.)

forest: 94.6% (2018 est.)

other: 4.9% (2018 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 66.4% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 0.88% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Revenue from forest resources

2.36% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 29

Revenue from coal

0% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 140

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 12.17 micrograms per cubic meter (2019 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 1.74 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 2.28 megatons (2020 est.)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 78,620 tons (2010 est.)

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Atlantic Ocean drainage: Amazon (6,145,186 sq km)

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 50 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

industrial: 140 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

agricultural: 430 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

Total renewable water resources

99 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

Government

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

etymology: name may derive from the indigenous "Surinen" people who inhabited the area at the time of European contact

Government type

presidential republic

Capital

name: Paramaribo

geographic coordinates: 5 50 N, 55 10 W

time difference: UTC-3 (2 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: the name may be the corruption of a Carib (Kalina) village or tribe named Parmirbo

Administrative divisions

10 districts (distrikten, singular - distrikt); Brokopondo, Commewijne, Coronie, Marowijne, Nickerie, Para, Paramaribo, Saramacca, Sipaliwini, Wanica

Independence

25 November 1975 (from the Netherlands)

National holiday

Independence Day, 25 November (1975)

Constitution

history: previous 1975; latest ratified 30 September 1987, effective 30 October 1987

amendments: proposed by the National Assembly; passage requires at least two-thirds majority vote of the total membership; amended 1992

Legal system

civil law system influenced by Dutch civil law; note - a new criminal code was enacted in 2017

International law organization participation

accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Suriname

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Chandrikapersad SANTOKHI (since 16 July 2020); Vice President Ronnie BRUNSWIJK (since 16 July 2020); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government

head of government: President Chandrikapersad SANTOKHI (since 16 July 2020); Vice President Ronnie BRUNSWIJK (since 16 July 2020)

cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers appointed by the president

elections/appointments: president and vice president indirectly elected by the National Assembly; president and vice president serve a 5-year term (no term limits); election last held on 13 July 2020 (next to be held in May 2025)

election results: 2020: Chandrikapersad SANTOKHI elected president unopposed; National Assembly vote - NA

Legislative branch

description: unicameral National Assembly or Nationale Assemblee (51 seats; members directly elected in 10 multi-seat constituencies by party-list proportional representation vote, using the D'Hondt method, to serve 5-year terms)

elections: last held on 25 May 2020 (next to be held in May 2025)

election results: percent of vote by party - VHP 41.1%, NDP 29.4%, ABOP 17.6%, NPS 7.8%, other 3.9%; seats by party - VHP 20, NDP 16, ABOP 9, NPS 3, BEP 2, PL 2; composition - men 36, women 15, percent of women 29.4%

Judicial branch

highest court(s): High Court of Justice of Suriname (consists of the court president, vice president, and 4 judges); note - appeals beyond the High Court are referred to the Caribbean Court of Justice; human rights violations can be appealed to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights with judgments issued by the Inter-American Court on Human Rights

judge selection and term of office: court judges appointed by the national president in consultation with the National Assembly, the State Advisory Council, and the Order of Private Attorneys; judges serve for life

subordinate courts: cantonal courts

Political parties and leaders

Brotherhood and Unity in Politics or BEP [Ronnie ASABINA]
Democratic Alternative '91 or DA91 [Angelique DEL CASTILHO]
General Liberation and Development Party or ABOP [Ronnie BRUNSWIJK}
National Democratic Party or NDP [Desire Delano BOUTERSE]
National Party of Suriname or NPS [Gregory RUSLAND]
Party for Democracy and Development in Unity or DOE [Steven ALFAISI]
Party for National Unity and Solidarity or KTPI [Iwan GANGA]
People's Alliance (Pertjajah Luhur) or PL [Paul SOMOHARDJO]
Progressive Workers' and Farmers' Union or PALU [Jim HOK]
Progressive Reform Party or VHP [Chandrikapersad SANTOKHI]
Reform and Renewal Movement or HVB [Mike NOERSALIM]
Surinamese Labor Party or SPA [Guno CASTELEN]

International organization participation

ACP, AOSIS, Caricom, CD, CDB, CELAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAES, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OIC, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, Petrocaribe, UN, UNASUR, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Jan Marten Willem SCHALKWIJK (since 19 April 2022)

chancery: 4301 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 629-4302

FAX: [1] (202) 629-4769

email address and website:
amb.vs@gov.sr

https://surinameembassy.org/index.html

consulate(s) general: Miami

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Robert J. FAUCHER (since 31 January 2023)

embassy: 165 Kristalstraat, Paramaribo

mailing address: 3390 Paramaribo Place, Washington DC  20521-3390

telephone: [597] 556-700

FAX: [597] 551-524

email address and website:
caparamar@state.gov

https://sr.usembassy.gov/

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

National symbol(s)

royal palm, faya lobi (flower); national colors: green, white, red, yellow

National anthem

name: "God zij met ons Suriname!" (God Be With Our Suriname)

lyrics/music: Cornelis Atses HOEKSTRA and Henry DE ZIEL/Johannes Corstianus DE PUY

note: adopted 1959; originally adapted from a Sunday school song written in 1893 and contains lyrics in both Dutch and Sranang Tongo

National heritage

total World Heritage Sites: 3 (2 cultural, 1 natural)

selected World Heritage Site locales: Central Suriname Nature Reserve (n); Historic Inner City of Paramaribo (c); Jodensavanne Archaeological Site: Jodensavanne Settlement and Cassipora Creek Cemetery (c)

Economy

Economic overview

upper middle-income South American economy; new floating currency regime; key aluminum goods, gold, and hydrocarbon exporter; new IMF plan for economic recovery and fiscal sustainability; controversial hardwood industry

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$9.3 billion (2022 est.)
$9.079 billion (2021 est.)
$9.306 billion (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 166

Real GDP growth rate

2.43% (2022 est.)
-2.44% (2021 est.)
-15.98% (2020 est.)

note: annual GDP % growth based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 160

Real GDP per capita

$15,000 (2022 est.)
$14,800 (2021 est.)
$15,300 (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 113

GDP (official exchange rate)

$3.621 billion (2022 est.)

note: data in current dollars at official exchange rate

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

52.45% (2022 est.)
59.12% (2021 est.)
34.89% (2020 est.)

note: annual % change based on consumer prices

comparison ranking: 216

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: C (2020)

Moody's rating: Caa3 (2020)

Standard & Poors rating: SD (2020)

note: The year refers to the year in which the current credit rating was first obtained.

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 11.6% (2017 est.)

industry: 31.1% (2017 est.)

services: 57.4% (2017 est.)

comparison rankings: services 140; industry 71; agriculture 84

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 27.6% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 11.7% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 52.5% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 26.5% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 68.9% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -60.6% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

rice, sugar cane, bananas, oranges, vegetables, plantains, coconuts, poultry, cassava, eggs

Industries

gold mining, oil, lumber, food processing, fishing

Industrial production growth rate

3.05% (2022 est.)

note: annual % change in industrial value added based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 116

Labor force

246,000 (2022 est.)

note: number of people ages 15 or older who are employed or seeking work

comparison ranking: 173

Unemployment rate

8.23% (2022 est.)
8.53% (2021 est.)
8.74% (2020 est.)

note: % of labor force seeking employment

comparison ranking: 149

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 30.5% (2021 est.)

male: 22.1%

female: 46.1%

comparison ranking: total 37

Remittances

4.09% of GDP (2022 est.)
4.79% of GDP (2021 est.)
4.26% of GDP (2020 est.)

note: personal transfers and compensation between resident and non-resident individuals/households/entities

Budget

revenues: $863 million (2019 est.)

expenditures: $1.648 billion (2019 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-7.8% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 196

Public debt

69.3% of GDP (2017 est.)
75.8% of GDP (2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 57

Taxes and other revenues

16.4% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 125

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

$76.321 million (2022 est.)
$176.058 million (2021 est.)
$259.846 million (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - net trade and primary/secondary income in current dollars

comparison ranking: 60

Exports

$2.6 billion (2022 est.)
$2.299 billion (2021 est.)
$2.446 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - exports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 155

Exports - partners

Switzerland 51%, United Arab Emirates 22%, Belgium 6%, Trinidad and Tobago 2%, Guyana 2% (2021)

Exports - commodities

gold, lumber, refined petroleum, excavation machinery, rice (2021)

Imports

$2.342 billion (2022 est.)
$1.876 billion (2021 est.)
$1.845 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - imports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 167

Imports - partners

United States 19%, China 16%, Netherlands 15%, Trinidad and Tobago 8%, Japan 3% (2021)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, excavation machinery, delivery trucks, cars, cigarettes (2021)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$1.195 billion (2022 est.)
$992.257 million (2021 est.)
$584.929 million (2020 est.)

note: holdings of gold (year-end prices)/foreign exchange/special drawing rights in current dollars

comparison ranking: 153

Debt - external

$1.7 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$1.436 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 156

Exchange rates

Surinamese dollars (SRD) per US dollar -

Exchange rates:
24.709 (2022 est.)
18.239 (2021 est.)
9.31 (2020 est.)
7.458 (2019 est.)
7.463 (2018 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 98.8% (2021)

electrification - urban areas: 99.5% (2021)

electrification - rural areas: 97.4% (2021)

Electricity

installed generating capacity: 542,000 kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 2,938,391,000 kWh (2019 est.)

exports: 0 kWh (2019 est.)

imports: 808 million kWh (2019 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 234 million kWh (2019 est.)

comparison rankings: installed generating capacity 150; transmission/distribution losses 68; imports 77; exports 183; consumption 141

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 40.5% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 0.4% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 58.8% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 0.3% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

Coal

production: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 0 metric tons (2019 est.)

Petroleum

total petroleum production: 14,800 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 15,800 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 200 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 89 million barrels (2021 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production

7,571 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 101

Refined petroleum products - exports

14,000 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 74

Refined petroleum products - imports

10,700 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 145

Natural gas

production: 0 cubic meters (2020 est.)

consumption: 0 cubic meters (2020 est.)

exports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

imports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

proven reserves: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

2.372 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 0 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 2.361 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 11,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total emissions 156

Energy consumption per capita

82.356 million Btu/person (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 71

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 108,250 (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 18 (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 133

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 928,840 (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 150 (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 164

Telecommunication systems

general assessment:

Suriname is the smallest nation on the South American continent, with about 580,000 inhabitants; the only Dutch-speaking nation in South America, it has close affinities with the Caribbean, and is a member of the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM); the country’s fixed-line infrastructure is reasonably reliable in the more populated coastal region, though poor in the interior; fixed teledensity and broadband penetration are slightly lower than average for Latin America and the Caribbean, while mobile penetration is significantly above the regional average and much higher than would be expected given the country’s relatively low GDP per capita; many Surinamese have up to three mobile lines with different providers, which has pushed up penetration figures although the number of subscribers has fallen in recent years as consumers have responded to economic pressures

(2021)

domestic: fixed-line is 18 per 100 and mobile-cellular teledensity is 150 telephones per 100 persons (2022)

international: country code - 597; landing point for the SG-SCS submarine cable linking South America with the Caribbean; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2019)

Broadcast media

2 state-owned TV stations; 1 state-owned radio station; multiple private radio and TV stations (2019)

Internet users

total: 402,600 (2021 est.)

percent of population: 66% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 172

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 92,270 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 16 (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 129

Transportation

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 4 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 20

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 272,347 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 33.2 million (2018) mt-km

Airports

55 (2024)

comparison ranking: 82

Heliports

1 (2024)

Pipelines

50 km oil (2013)

Roadways

total: 4,304 km

paved: 1,119 km

unpaved: 3,185 km (2003)

comparison ranking: total 154

Waterways

1,200 km (2011) (most navigable by ships with drafts up to 7 m)

comparison ranking: 63

Merchant marine

total: 13 (2023)

by type: general cargo 5, oil tanker 3, other 5

comparison ranking: total 154

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Paramaribo, Wageningen

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Suriname National Army (Nationaal Leger or NL); Army (Landmacht), Navy (Marine); Air Force (Luchtmacht), Military Police (Korps Militaire Politie)

Ministry of Justice and Police: Suriname Police Force (Korps Politie Suriname or KPS) (2024)

Military expenditures

1.2% of GDP (2019 est.)
1.1% of GDP (2018 est.)
1.1% of GDP (2017 est.)
1.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
1.4% of GDP (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 113

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 2,000 total personnel (2023)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the Suriname Army has a limited inventory comprised of a mix of older, foreign-supplied equipment; in recent years, Suriname has received small quantities of military hardware from India (2023)

Military service age and obligation

18 is the legal minimum age for voluntary military service for men and women; no conscription (2024)

Military - note

key missions for the National Leger include border control and supporting domestic security; the military police has direct responsibility for immigration control at the country’s ports of entry; in addition, the military assists the police in combating crime, particularly narco-trafficking, including joint military and police patrols, as well as joint special security teams (2023)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

Suriname-France (French Guiana): in March 2021, Suriname and France signed an agreement to establish their border along the Maroni River and its tributary the Lawa River and to cooperate in combatting illegal gold mining; however, the area further south between the Litani and Marouini Rivers is still disputed, with Suriname claiming the border is along the Marouini to the east and France arguing it is along the Litani River to the west

Suriname-Guyana: the two countries dispute the territory between two rivers, known as the New River Triangle, with Suriname contending that the New River (also called the Upper Corentyne) to the west marks their common border, while Guyana asserts that the Kutari River to the east forms the border; each side claims that their river is the source of the Corentyne River that forms a border further north between the two countries; the Permanent Court of Arbitration settled the maritime boundary between Suriname and Guyana in 2007 in an area with potentially substantial oil reserves

 

Illicit drugs

a transit country for South American cocaine en route to Europe; illicit drugs are smuggled in cargo containers, commercial and private air transport and human couriers