Country Summary



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. The Netherlands granted the colony independence in 1975.



total: 163,820 sq km
land: 156,000 sq km
water: 7,820 sq km


tropical; moderated by trade winds

Natural resources

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

People and Society


639,759 (2023 est.)

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.)


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


Protestant 23.6% (includes Evangelical 11.2%, Moravian 11.2%, Reformed .7%, Lutheran .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.)

Population growth rate

1.11% (2023 est.)


Government type

presidential republic


name: Paramaribo

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)

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)


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)

$9.052 billion (2021 est.)
$9.306 billion (2020 est.)
$11.075 billion (2019 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$14,800 (2021 est.)
$15,300 (2020 est.)
$18,400 (2019 est.)

Agricultural products

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


gold mining, oil, lumber, food processing, fishing


4.95% of GDP (2021 est.)
4.26% of GDP (2020 est.)
2.39% of GDP (2019 est.)


$2.299 billion (2021 est.)
$2.446 billion (2020 est.)
$2.287 billion (2019 est.)

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)


$1.876 billion (2021 est.)
$1.845 billion (2020 est.)
$2.413 billion (2019 est.)

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)

Exchange rates

Surinamese dollars (SRD) per US dollar -
Exchange rates:
18.239 (2021 est.)
9.31 (2020 est.)
7.458 (2019 est.)
7.463 (2018 est.)
7.488 (2017 est.)

Page last updated: Wednesday, December 06, 2023