Suriname

Country Summary

2022 population pyramid

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. The Netherlands granted the colony independence in 1975.

Geography

Area

total: 163,820 sq km

land: 156,000 sq km

water: 7,820 sq km

Climate

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

Population

632,638 (2022 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.)

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

Religions

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

1.13% (2022 est.)

Government

Government type

presidential republic

Capital

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)

Economy

Economic overview

upper middle-income South American economy; natural resource rich; foreign investments in oil field development; key aluminum goods exporter; central bank sets currency value and is experiencing devaluation; controversial hardwood industry

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$9.46 billion (2020 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$16,100 (2020 est.)

Agricultural products

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

Industries

gold mining, oil, lumber, food processing, fishing

Exports

$2.29 billion (2019 est.)

Exports - partners

Switzerland 39%, United Arab Emirates 31%, Belgium 10% (2019)

Exports - commodities

gold, lumber, refined petroleum, fish, cigarettes (2019)

Imports

$2.41 billion (2019 est.)

Imports - partners

United States 22%, Netherlands 14%, China 13%, Trinidad and Tobago 7%, Antigua and Barbuda 5% (2019)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, delivery trucks, excavation machinery, cars, construction vehicles (2019)


Page last updated: Thursday, Jun 02, 2022