General Information about Suriname

The official name is the Republic of Suriname.

Located in the northeastern part of South America. The area is 163.3 thousand km2, the population is 419.7 thousand people. (2001). The official language is Dutch. The capital is the city of Paramaribo (200 thousand people). Public holiday – Independence Day November 25 (since 1975). The monetary unit is the Surinamese guilder (florin) (equal to 100 cents).

Member of the UN (since 1975), OAS (since 1977), Leningrad NPP (since 1979), member of the Non-Aligned Movement (since 1979), CARICOM (since 1995), ACG (since 1995), etc.

Geography of Suriname

Suriname in the west borders on Guyana, in the east – on Guiana (French), in the south – on Brazil, in the north it is washed by the waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The length of the coastline is 386 km. The northern half of Suriname is occupied by the Guiana Lowland, partially swampy, the southern half by the Guiana Plateau, reaching a height of 1280 m in the Wilhelmina Mountains. only in the lower reaches. The vegetation in the northern lowland part of Suriname is savannah, in the southern part and on the plateau there are humid tropical forests with valuable tree species (carapa, virola, etc.), along the coast there are mangroves. The forests are occupied by St. 85% of the country’s territory, they are inhabited by monkeys, jaguars, cougars, tapirs; many birds. Among amphibians is the endemic pipa Surinamese frog. The rivers are home to electric rays, piranhas, arapaima and many other fish. Being a small state in terms of territory, Suriname nevertheless has a huge biodiversity. The subsoil is rich in bauxites (explored reserves are 8 billion tons), which are the best in the world in terms of quality. Already developed deposits are being depleted, while others are located in hard-to-reach inland regions of the country. Known deposits of ores of iron, niobium, tin, tantalum, gold, platinum, diamonds. Substantial water resources. The climate is tropical, humid, the trade winds soften the effects of heat and humidity. The average monthly temperature is +26–28°C, precipitation is 2000–3000 mm per year.

Suriname population

According to Countryaah, the population increased from 355 thousand in 1980 to 402 thousand in 1990, amounting to 417 thousand people in 2000. The low growth rates (in 2003 – 0.37%) are caused by the complication of the political situation after the declaration of independence in 1975, the periodic exacerbation of the economic situation and the mass emigration of Surinamese mainly to the former metropolis. Infant mortality 19.4 pers. per 1000 newborns (2003). Life expectancy is 69.2 years. The share of the urban population is 75%. The level of illiteracy has traditionally been low since the time of autonomy – less than 6%.

Ethnically, the population of Suriname is very diverse, an unusual ethno-cultural combination, which is due to the peculiarities of the Dutch colonization, the importation of African slaves at its beginning, and later contract labor from India and Indonesia. 35% of the population are of Indian origin, 32% are Afro-Surinamese, 15% are Indonesians (mainly Javanese), 10% are Maroons (“forest blacks”, descendants of Africans who fled from cruel exploitation inland), 2% are Indians, 2% – Europeans, 2% – Chinese, etc. The majority of the population lives along the Atlantic coast.

The official language is Dutch, English is widely spoken, the local language is Sranang Tongo (another name is Surinamese or still), Hindustani (a dialect of Hindi), Javanese. Different ethnic groups adhere to different religions – Hinduism, Islam, Christianity (Catholics, Moravian brothers, Lutherans, etc.), Judaism, etc.

Economy of Suriname

The basis of the economy is the bauxite mining industry, controlled by American and Dutch capital. The export of alumina is provided by St. 70% of foreign exchange earnings. GDP is 989 million dollars, 2.2 thousand dollars per capita (2002). GDP growth rates were 1.2% in 2002 and 3.5% in 2003, and in terms of per capita – 0.4 and 2.7% respectively. GDP structure: agriculture 11.3%, industry 21.4% (including manufacturing 7.7%), services 67.3%. The economically active population is more than 100 thousand people, unemployment is 14%. In addition to bauxite (3.6 million tons), gold is mined, and oil production (more than 10 thousand barrels per day) is becoming a promising industry. Electricity generation 1.4 billion kWh. The main agricultural crops are rice, bananas, coconut, peanuts, livestock breeding is developed. Exports ($577 million, 2003) are dominated by bauxite, alumina, aluminum, rice, shrimp, bananas, fruits, vegetables, timber are also exported. Imports ($763 million, 2003) consist of machinery, equipment, manufactured goods, oil and food. Main trading partners: USA, Netherlands and other EU countries, Japan, Trinidad and Tobago. The length of roads is 4.5 thousand km, of which 1.2 thousand are paved; railways 166 km, airfields – 46, the largest airport – in the capital.

As a result of the government’s stabilization measures, the economic situation has noticeably improved: economic growth rates have increased, inflation has decreased from 77% in con. 1990s up to 20% in 2003, the state budget is balanced, the national currency is strengthened (in order to increase the confidence of consumers and investors, the government announced the introduction of a new national currency from January 2004 – the Surinamese dollar, equal to 1000 former guilders; in late 2003, 1 US dollar was equal to 2800 guilders). According to the Human Development Index, Suriname ranks 77th in the world (2003).

Science and culture of Suriname

The National Center for the Training of Specialists is the University of Paramaribo, there are pedagogical institutes. A special flavor of culture gives a lot of ethno-cultural origins. Anton de Kom, a classic of Surinamese literature, had a great influence on the formation of national culture.

People of Suriname