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Suriname
Introduction ::Suriname
Background:
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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. 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 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.
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Geography ::Suriname
Location:
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Northern South America, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between French Guiana and Guyana
Geographic coordinates:
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4 00 N, 56 00 W
Map references:
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South America
Area:
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total: 163,820 sq km
country comparison to the world: 92
land: 156,000 sq km
water: 7,820 sq km
Area - comparative:
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slightly larger than Georgia
Land boundaries:
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total: 1,703 km
border countries: Brazil 593 km, French Guiana 510 km, Guyana 600 km
Coastline:
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386 km
Maritime claims:
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territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate:
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tropical; moderated by trade winds
Terrain:
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mostly rolling hills; narrow coastal plain with swamps
Elevation extremes:
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lowest point: unnamed location in the coastal plain -2 m
highest point: Juliana Top 1,230 m
Natural resources:
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timber, hydropower, fish, kaolin, shrimp, bauxite, gold, and small amounts of nickel, copper, platinum, iron ore
Land use:
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arable land: 0.36%
permanent crops: 0.04%
other: 99.6% (2011)
Irrigated land:
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511.8 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources:
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122 cu km (2011)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
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total: 0.67 cu km/yr (6%/4%/90%)
per capita: 1,396 cu m/yr (2006)
Natural hazards:
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NA
Environment - current issues:
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deforestation as timber is cut for export; pollution of inland waterways by small-scale mining activities
Environment - international agreements:
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party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
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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
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People and Society ::Suriname
Nationality:
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noun: Surinamer(s)
adjective: Surinamese
Ethnic groups:
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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%, "Maroons" (their African ancestors were brought to the country in the 17th and 18th centuries as slaves and escaped to the interior) 10%, Amerindian 2%, Chinese 2%, white 1%, other 2%
Languages:
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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), Caribbean Hindustani (a dialect of Hindi), Javanese
Religions:
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Hindu 27.4%, Protestant 25.2% (predominantly Moravian), Roman Catholic 22.8%, Muslim 19.6%, indigenous beliefs 5%
Demographic profile:
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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 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.
Population:
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566,846 (July 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 170
Age structure:
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0-14 years: 26.8% (male 77,404/female 74,477)
15-24 years: 17.5% (male 50,745/female 48,718)
25-54 years: 43.8% (male 126,399/female 121,930)
55-64 years: 6.2% (male 17,123/female 18,246)
65 years and over: 5.6% (male 13,770/female 18,034) (2013 est.)
population pyramid:
Median age:
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total: 27.6 years
male: 27.3 years
female: 28 years (2012 est.)
Population growth rate:
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1.222% (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 97
Birth rate:
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17.44 births/1,000 population (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 111
Death rate:
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6.17 deaths/1,000 population (July 2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 159
Net migration rate:
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0.96 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 56
Urbanization:
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urban population: 69% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 1.5% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major cities - population:
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PARAMARIBO (capital) 259,000 (2009)
Sex ratio:
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at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.77 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2011 est.)
Maternal mortality rate:
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130 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)
country comparison to the world: 63
Infant mortality rate:
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total: 28.94 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 69
male: 33.62 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 24.03 deaths/1,000 live births (2012 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
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total population: 71.12 years
country comparison to the world: 143
male: 68.78 years
female: 73.58 years (2012 est.)
Total fertility rate:
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2.04 children born/woman (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 123
Health expenditures:
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7% of GDP (2010)
country comparison to the world: 82
Physicians density:
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0.45 physicians/1,000 population (2000)
Hospital bed density:
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2.6 beds/1,000 population (2009)
Drinking water source:
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improved:
urban: 97% of population
rural: 81% of population
total: 92% of population
unimproved:
urban: 3% of population
rural: 19% of population
total: 8% of population (2010 est.)
Sanitation facility access:
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improved:
urban: 90% of population
rural: 66% of population
total: 83% of population
unimproved:
urban: 10% of population
rural: 34% of population
total: 17% of population (2010 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
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1% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 49
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
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3,700 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 123
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
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fewer than 200 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 103
Major infectious diseases:
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degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: dengue fever, Mayaro virus, and malaria
water contact disease: leptospirosis (2009)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight:
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7.5% (2006)
country comparison to the world: 74
Education expenditures:
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NA
Literacy:
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definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 89.6%
male: 92%
female: 87.2% (2004 census)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
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total: 13 years (2006)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24:
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total: 21.5% (2004)
country comparison to the world: 53
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Government ::Suriname
Country name:
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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:
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constitutional democracy
Capital:
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name: Paramaribo
geographic coordinates: 5 50 N, 55 10 W
time difference: UTC-3 (2 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:
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10 districts (distrikten, singular - distrikt); Brokopondo, Commewijne, Coronie, Marowijne, Nickerie, Para, Paramaribo, Saramacca, Sipaliwini, Wanica
Independence:
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25 November 1975 (from the Netherlands)
National holiday:
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Independence Day, 25 November (1975)
Constitution:
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ratified 30 September 1987; effective 30 October 1987
Legal system:
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civil law system influenced by Dutch civil law; note - the Commissie Nieuw Surinaamse Burgerlijk Wetboek completed drafting a new civil code in February 2009
International law organization participation:
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accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
Suffrage:
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18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
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chief of state: President Desire Delano BOUTERSE (since 12 August 2010); Vice President Robert AMEERALI (since 12 August 2010); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Desire Delano BOUTERSE (since 12 August 2010); Vice President Robert AMEERALI (since 12 August 2010)
cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers appointed by the president
(For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
elections: president and vice president elected by the National Assembly or, if no presidential or vice presidential candidate receives a two-thirds constitutional majority in the National Assembly after two votes, by a simple majority in the larger United People's Assembly (893 representatives from the national, local, and regional councils), for five-year terms (no term limits); election last held on 19 July 2010 (next to be held in 2015)
election results: Desire Delano BOUTERSE elected president; percent of vote - Desire Delano BOUTERSE 70.6%, Chandrikapersad SATOKHI 25.5%, other 3.9%
Legislative branch:
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unicameral National Assembly or Nationale Assemblee (51 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held on 25 May 2010 (next to be held in May 2015)
election results: percent of vote by party - Mega Combination 45.1%, New Front 27.5%, A-Com 13.7%, People's Alliance 11.8%, DOE 1.9%; seats by party - Mega Combination 23, New Front 14, A-Com 7, People's Alliance 6, DOE 1
Judicial branch:
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Cantonal Courts and a Court of Justice as an appellate court (justices are nominated for life); member of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ)
Political parties and leaders:
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A-Combination (a coalition that includes the General Liberation and Development Party ABOP [Ronnie BRUNSWIJK], and SEEKA [Paul ABENA]); Basic Party for Renewal and Democracy or BVD [Dilip SARDJOE]; Basic Party for Renewal and Democracy or PVF [Soedeschand JAIRAM]; Democratic Union Suriname or DUS [Japhet DIEKO]; Mega Combination Coalition (a coalition that joined with A-Combination and the PL to form a majority in Parliament in 2010 - includes the National Democratic Party or NDP [Desire BOUTERSE] (largest party in the coalition), Progressive Worker and Farmer's Union or PALU [Jim HOK], Party for National Unity and Solidarity of the Highest Order or KTPI [Willy SOEMITA], DNP-2000 [Jules WIJDENBOSCH], Union of Brotherhood and Unity in Politics BEP [Caprino ALENDY], and New Suriname or NS [Nanan PANDAY]); National Union or NU [P. VAN LEEUWAARDE]; New Front for Democracy and Development or NF (a coalition made up of the National Party of Suriname or NPS [Runaldo VENETIAAN], United Reform Party or VHP [Ramdien SARDJOE], Democratic Alternative 1991 or DA-91 - an independent, business-oriented party [Winston JESSURUN], Surinamese Labor Party or SPA [Siegfried GILDS]); Party for Democracy and Development in Unity or DOE [Carl BREEVELD]; Party for the Permanent Prosperity Republic Suriname or PVRS [NA]; People's Alliance, Pertjaja Luhur's or PL [Paul SOMOHARDJO](includes D-21 [Soewarta MOESTADJA] and Pendawa Lima [Raymond SAPEON], which merged with PL in 2010)
note: BVD and PVF participated in the elections as a coalition (BVD/PVF) in the most recent elections, but separated after the election
Political pressure groups and leaders:
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Association of Indigenous Village Chiefs [Ricardo PANE]; Association of Saramaccan Authorities or Maroon [Head Captain WASE]; Women's Parliament Forum or PVF [Iris GILLIAD]
International organization participation:
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ACP, AOSIS, Caricom, CD, CELAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, 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:
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chief of mission: Ambassador Subhas-Chandra MUNGRA
chancery: Suite 460, 4301 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 244-7488
FAX: [1] (202) 244-5878
consulate(s) general: Miami
Diplomatic representation from the US:
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chief of mission: Ambassador Jay N. ANANIA
embassy: Dr. Sophie Redmondstraat 129, Paramaribo
mailing address: US Department of State, PO Box 1821, Paramaribo
telephone: [597] 472-900
FAX: [597] 410-972
Flag description:
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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 anthem:
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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; the anthem, originally adapted from a Sunday school song written in 1893, contains lyrics in both Dutch and Sranang Tongo
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Economy ::Suriname
Economy - overview:
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The economy is dominated by the mining industry, with exports of alumina, gold, and oil accounting for about 85% of exports and 25% of government revenues, making the economy highly vulnerable to mineral price volatility. Economic growth, which reached about 7% in 2008, owing to sizeable foreign investment in mining and oil, slowed to 2.2% in 2009 as investment waned and the country earned less from its commodity exports when global prices for most commodities fell. Trade picked up, boosting Suriname's economic growth about 4% per year in 2010-12, but the government's budget remained strained. Inflation rose from 1.3% in 2009 to 17.7% in 2011. In January 2011, the government devalued the currency by 20% and raised taxes to reduce the budget deficit. As a result of these measures, inflation receded to 6% in 2012. Suriname's economic prospects for the medium term will depend on continued commitment to responsible monetary and fiscal policies and to the introduction of structural reforms to liberalize markets and promote competition.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
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$6.685 billion (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 162
$6.429 billion (2011 est.)
$6.173 billion (2010 est.)
note: data are in 2012 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate):
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$5.094 billion (2012 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
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4% (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 88
4.2% (2011 est.)
4.1% (2010 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
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$12,300 (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 104
$11,900 (2011 est.)
$11,600 (2010 est.)
note: data are in 2012 US dollars
GDP - composition by sector:
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agriculture: 10.4%
industry: 36.6%
services: 52.9% (2012 est.)
Labor force:
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165,600 (2007)
country comparison to the world: 176
Labor force - by occupation:
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agriculture: 8%
industry: 14%
services: 78% (2004)
Unemployment rate:
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9% (2008)
country comparison to the world: 103
12.1% (2006)
Population below poverty line:
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70% (2002 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
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lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Budget:
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revenues: $826.6 million
expenditures: $939.7 million (2010 est.)
Taxes and other revenues:
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16.2% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 183
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):
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-2.2% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 86
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
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6% (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 158
17.7% (2011 est.)
Commercial bank prime lending rate:
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12% (31 December 2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 70
11.75% (31 December 2011 est.)
Stock of narrow money:
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$1.132 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 145
$1.075 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
Stock of broad money:
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$2.3 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 148
$2.033 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
Stock of domestic credit:
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$1.286 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 151
$1.029 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares:
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$NA
Agriculture - products:
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rice, bananas, palm kernels, coconuts, plantains, peanuts; beef, chickens; shrimp; forest products
Industries:
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bauxite and gold mining, alumina production; oil, lumbering, food processing, fishing
Industrial production growth rate:
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6.5% (1994 est.)
country comparison to the world: 46
Current account balance:
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$577.2 million (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 43
$251.1 million (2011 est.)
Exports:
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$2.927 billion (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 131
$2.467 billion (2011 est.)
Exports - commodities:
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alumina, gold, crude oil, lumber, shrimp and fish, rice, bananas
Exports - partners:
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US 23.9%, Canada 19.5%, Belgium 17.2%, UAE 8.9%, Norway 6.2%, Guyana 4.8%, France 4.1% (2011)
Imports:
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$1.838 billion (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 166
$1.679 billion (2011 est.)
Imports - commodities:
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capital equipment, petroleum, foodstuffs, cotton, consumer goods
Imports - partners:
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US 26.1%, Netherlands 15.6%, UAE 8.6%, China 8.2%, Antigua and Barbuda 7.4%, the former countries of Netherlands Antilles 5.5%, Brazil 4.4%, Japan 4.1% (2011)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
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$1.048 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 135
$726.8 million (2010 est.)
Debt - external:
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$504.3 million (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 170
Exchange rates:
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Surinamese dollars (SRD) per US dollar -
3.5 (2012 est.)
3.2683 (2011 est.)
2.7454 (2010 est.)
2.745 (2009)
2.745 (2008)
Fiscal year:
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calendar year
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Energy ::Suriname
Electricity - production:
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1.603 billion kWh (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 141
Electricity - consumption:
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1.463 billion kWh (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 146
Electricity - exports:
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0 kWh (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 115
Electricity - imports:
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0 kWh (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 117
Electricity - installed generating capacity:
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389,000 kW (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 146
Electricity - from fossil fuels:
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51.4% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 155
Electricity - from nuclear fuels:
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0% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 155
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants:
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48.6% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 43
Electricity - from other renewable sources:
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0% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 171
Crude oil - production:
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16,000 bbl/day (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 76
Crude oil - exports:
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0 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 164
Crude oil - imports:
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0 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 111
Crude oil - proved reserves:
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72 million bbl (1 January 2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 79
Refined petroleum products - production:
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7,407 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 108
Refined petroleum products - consumption:
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14,100 bbl/day (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 147
Refined petroleum products - exports:
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1,058 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 109
Refined petroleum products - imports:
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6,430 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 145
Natural gas - production:
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0 cu m (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 177
Natural gas - consumption:
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0 cu m (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 183
Natural gas - exports:
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0 cu m (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 157
Natural gas - imports:
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0 cu m (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 111
Natural gas - proved reserves:
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0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 180
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy:
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2.343 million Mt (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 149
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Communications ::Suriname
Telephones - main lines in use:
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85,500 (2011)
country comparison to the world: 150
Telephones - mobile cellular:
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947,000 (2011)
country comparison to the world: 156
Telephone system:
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general assessment: international facilities are good
domestic: combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity 185 telephones per 100 persons; microwave radio relay network
international: country code - 597; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2010)
Broadcast media:
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2 state-owned TV stations; 1 state-owned radio station; multiple private radio and TV stations (2007)
Internet country code:
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.sr
Internet hosts:
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188 (2012)
country comparison to the world: 202
Internet users:
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163,000 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 146
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Transportation ::Suriname
Airports:
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47 (2012)
country comparison to the world: 93
Airports - with paved runways:
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total: 5
over 3,047 m: 1
under 914 m: 4 (2012)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
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total: 42
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 38 (2012)
Pipelines:
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oil 50 km (2010)
Roadways:
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total: 4,304 km
country comparison to the world: 154
paved: 1,130 km
unpaved: 3,174 km (2003)
Waterways:
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1,200 km (most navigable by ships with drafts up to 7 m) (2011)
country comparison to the world: 61
Ports and terminals:
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Paramaribo, Wageningen
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Military ::Suriname
Military branches:
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Suriname Armed Forces: Ground Forces, Naval Forces, Air Forces (2010)
Military service age and obligation:
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18 years of age (est.); recruitment is voluntary, with personnel drawn almost exclusively from the Creole community (2007)
Manpower available for military service:
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males age 16-49: 134,218
females age 16-49: 134,439 (2010 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
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males age 16-49: 109,445
females age 16-49: 112,538 (2010 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
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male: 4,119
female: 4,106 (2010 est.)
Military expenditures:
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1.2% of GDP (2011)
country comparison to the world: 116
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Transnational Issues ::Suriname
Disputes - international:
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area claimed by French Guiana between Riviere Litani and Riviere Marouini (both headwaters of the Lawa); Suriname claims a triangle of land between the New and Kutari/Koetari rivers in a historic dispute over the headwaters of the Courantyne; Guyana seeks United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea arbitration to resolve the longstanding dispute with Suriname over the axis of the territorial sea boundary in potentially oil-rich waters
Illicit drugs:
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growing transshipment point for South American drugs destined for Europe via the Netherlands and Brazil; transshipment point for arms-for-drugs dealing
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