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South America :: Suriname
page last updated on October 28, 2009
Flag of Suriname
(CONTAINS DESCRIPTION)
Location of Suriname
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Map of Suriname
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Introduction ::Suriname
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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 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 New Front coalition - returned to power in 1991 and has ruled since; the coalition expanded to eight parties in 2005.
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Geography ::Suriname
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Northern South America, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between French Guiana and Guyana
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4 00 N, 56 00 W
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total: 163,820 sq km
country comparison to the world: 91
land: 156,000 sq km
water: 7,820 sq km
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slightly larger than Georgia
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total: 1,703 km
border countries: Brazil 593 km, French Guiana 510 km, Guyana 600 km
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386 km
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territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
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tropical; moderated by trade winds
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mostly rolling hills; narrow coastal plain with swamps
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lowest point: unnamed location in the coastal plain -2 m
highest point: Juliana Top 1,230 m
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timber, hydropower, fish, kaolin, shrimp, bauxite, gold, and small amounts of nickel, copper, platinum, iron ore
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arable land: 0.36%
permanent crops: 0.06%
other: 99.58% (2005)
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510 sq km (2003)
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122 cu km (2003)
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total: 0.67 cu km/yr (4%/3%/93%)
per capita: 1,489 cu m/yr (2000)
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NA
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deforestation as timber is cut for export; pollution of inland waterways by small-scale mining activities
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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
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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 ::Suriname
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481,267 (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 170
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0-14 years: 27.1% (male 66,603/female 64,035)
15-64 years: 66.6% (male 159,525/female 160,871)
65 years and over: 6.3% (male 13,004/female 17,229) (2009 est.)
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total: 27.9 years
male: 27.5 years
female: 28.3 years (2009 est.)
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1.103% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 123
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16.8 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 126
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5.51 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 176
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-0.26 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 99
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urban population: 75% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 1% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
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at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.76 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
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total: 18.81 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 109
male: 22.21 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 15.18 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
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total population: 73.73 years
country comparison to the world: 97
male: 71 years
female: 76.65 years (2009 est.)
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1.99 children born/woman (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 130
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2.4% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 27
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6,800 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 116
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fewer than 500 (2003 est.)
country comparison to the world: 91
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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)
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noun: Surinamer(s)
adjective: Surinamese
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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%
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Hindu 27.4%, Protestant 25.2% (predominantly Moravian), Roman Catholic 22.8%, Muslim 19.6%, indigenous beliefs 5%
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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
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definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 89.6%
male: 92%
female: 87.2% (2004 census)
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total: 12 years
male: 11 years
female: 13 years (2002)
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NA
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Government ::Suriname
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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
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constitutional democracy
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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)
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10 districts (distrikten, singular - distrikt); Brokopondo, Commewijne, Coronie, Marowijne, Nickerie, Para, Paramaribo, Saramacca, Sipaliwini, Wanica
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25 November 1975 (from the Netherlands)
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Independence Day, 25 November (1975)
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ratified 30 September 1987; effective 30 October 1987
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based on Dutch legal system incorporating French penal theory; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations
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18 years of age; universal
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chief of state: President Runaldo Ronald VENETIAAN (since 12 August 2000); Vice President Ramdien SARDJOE (since 3 August 2005); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Runaldo Ronald VENETIAAN (since 12 August 2000); Vice President Ram SARDJOE (since 3 August 2005)
cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers appointed by the president
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 25 May 2005 (next to be held in 2010)
election results: Runaldo Ronald VENETIAAN reelected president; percent of vote - Runaldo Ronald VENETIAAN 62.9%, Rabin PARMESSAR 35.4%, other 1.7%; note - after two votes in the parliament failed to secure a two-thirds majority for a candidate, the vote then went to a special session of the United People's Assembly on 3 August 2005
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unicameral National Assembly or Nationale Assemblee (51 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held on 25 May 2005 (next to be held in 2010)
election results: percent of vote by party - NF 39.7%, NDP 22.2%, VVV 13.8%, A-Com 7.2%, A-1 5.9%, other 11.2%; seats by party - NF 23, NDP 15, VVV 5, A-Com 5, A-1 3
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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)
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Alternative-1 or A-1 (a coalition of Amazone Party of Suriname or APS [Kenneth VAN GENDEREN], Democrats of the 21st Century or D-21 [Soewarto MOESTADJA], Nieuw Suriname or NS [Radjen Nanan PANDAY], Political Wing of the FAL or PVF [Jiwan SITAL], Trefpunt 2000 or T-2000 [Arti JESSURUN]); General Interior Development Party or ABOP [Ronnie BRUNSWIJK]; National Democratic Party or NDP [Desire BOUTERSE]; New Front for Democracy and Development or NF (a coalition that includes A-Combination or A-Com, Democratic Alternative 1991 or DA-91, an independent, business-oriented party [Winston JESSURUN], National Party Suriname or NPS [Ronald VENETIAAN], United Reform Party or VHP [Ramdien SARDJOE], Pertjaja Luhur or PL [Salam Paul SOMOHARDJO], Surinamese Labor Party or SPA [Siegfried GILDS]); Party for Democracy and Development in Unity or DOE [Marten SCHALKWIJK]; People's Alliance for Progress or VVV (a coalition of Democratic National Platform 2000 or DNP-2000 [Jules WIJDENBOSCH], Grassroots Party for Renewal and Democracy or BVD [Tjan GOBARDHAN], Party for National Unity and Solidarity of the Highest Order or KTPI [Willy SOEMITA], Party for Progression, Justice, and Perseverance or PPRS [Renee KAIMAN], Pendawalima or PL [Raymond SAPOEN]); Progressive Laborers and Farmers Union or PALU [Jim HOK]; Progressive Political Party or PPP [Surinder MUNGRA]; Seeka [Paul ABENA]; Union of Progressive Surinamers or UPS [Sheoradj PANDAY]
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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]
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ACP, Caricom, FAO, G-77, IADB, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDB, IFAD, IFRCS, IHO (suspended), ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ISO (subscriber), ITU, ITUC, LAES, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OIC, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNASUR, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
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chief of mission: Ambassador Jacques Ruben Constantijn KROSS
chancery: Suite 460, 4301 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 244-7488
FAX: [1] (202) 244-5878
consulate(s) general: Miami
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chief of mission: Ambassador Lisa Bobbie SCHREIBER HUGHES
embassy: Dr. Sophie Redmondstraat 129, Paramaribo
mailing address: US Department of State, PO Box 1821, Paramaribo
telephone: [597] 472-900
FAX: [597] 410-025
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five horizontal bands of green (top, double width), white, red (quadruple width), white, and green (double width); there is a large, yellow, five-pointed star centered in the red band
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Economy ::Suriname
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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. Prospects for local onshore oil production are good, and a drilling program is underway. Offshore oil drilling was given a boost in 2004 when the State Oil Company (Staatsolie) signed exploration agreements with several Western oil companies. Bidding on these new offshore blocks was completed in July 2006. The short-term economic outlook depends on the government's ability to control inflation and on the development of projects in the bauxite and gold mining sectors, though investment in these projects may slow with the tightening of global credit markets. Suriname has received aid for these projects from Netherlands, Belgium, and the European Development Fund. 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. In 2000, the government of Ronald VENETIAAN, returned to office and inherited an economy with inflation of over 100% and a growing fiscal deficit. He quickly implemented an austerity program, raised taxes, attempted to control spending, and tamed inflation. The VENETIAAN administration also has created a stabilization fund to insulate future revenue from commodity shocks. These economic policies are likely to remain in effect during VENETIAAN's third term.
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$4.254 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 164
$4.014 billion (2007 est.)
$3.804 billion (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
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$2.984 billion (2008 est.)
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6% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 60
5.5% (2007 est.)
4.8% (2006 est.)
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$8,900 (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 111
$8,500 (2007 est.)
$8,200 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
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agriculture: 10.8%
industry: 24.4%
services: 64.8% (2005 est.)
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165,600 (2007)
country comparison to the world: 171
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agriculture: 8%
industry: 14%
services: 78% (2004)
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9.5% (2004)
country comparison to the world: 122
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70% (2002 est.)
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lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
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revenues: $392.6 million
expenditures: $425.9 million (2004)
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6.4% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 109
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NA% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 89
9.71% (31 December 2007)
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$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 138
$416.6 million (31 December 2007)
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$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 122
$824.4 million (31 December 2007)
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$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 140
$651 million (31 December 2007)
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$NA
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paddy rice, bananas, palm kernels, coconuts, plantains, peanuts; beef, chickens; shrimp; forest products
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bauxite and gold mining, alumina production; oil, lumbering, food processing, fishing
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6.5% (1994 est.)
country comparison to the world: 33
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1.605 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 140
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1.467 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 139
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0 kWh (2008 est.)
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0 kWh (2008 est.)
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15,280 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 79
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14,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 140
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4,308 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 107
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6,296 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 150
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79.6 million bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 72
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0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 143
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0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 143
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0 cu m (2008)
country comparison to the world: 140
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0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 105
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0 cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 150
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$24 million (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 59
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$1.391 billion (2006 est.)
country comparison to the world: 142
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alumina, gold, crude oil, lumber, shrimp and fish, rice, bananas
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Canada 36.1%, Belgium 12.5%, Norway 12.4%, UAE 8.8%, US 7.7% (2008)
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$1.297 billion (2006 est.)
country comparison to the world: 167
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capital equipment, petroleum, foodstuffs, cotton, consumer goods
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US 30.8%, Netherlands 15.3%, Trinidad and Tobago 14%, China 7.6%, Japan 6.4% (2008)
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$263.3 million (2006)
country comparison to the world: 142
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$504.3 million (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 164
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Surinamese dollars (SRD) per US dollar - 2.745 (2007), 2.745 (2006), 2.7317 (2005), 2.7336 (2004), 2.6013 (2003)
note: in January 2004, the government replaced the guilder with the Surinamese dollar, tied to a US dollar-dominated currency basket
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Communications ::Suriname
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81,500 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 149
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416,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 159
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general assessment: international facilities are good
domestic: combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity exceed 100 telephones per 100 persons; microwave radio relay network
international: country code - 597; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
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AM 4, FM 13, shortwave 1 (1998)
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3 (plus 7 repeaters) (2000)
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.sr
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162 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 193
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50,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 170
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Transportation ::Suriname
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50 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 91
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total: 5
over 3,047 m: 1
under 914 m: 4 (2009)
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total: 45
914 to 1,523 m: 5
under 914 m: 40 (2009)
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oil 50 km (2008)
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total: 4,304 km
country comparison to the world: 154
paved: 1,130 km
unpaved: 3,174 km (2003)
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1,200 km (most navigable by ships with drafts up to 7 m) (2008)
country comparison to the world: 61
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total: 1
country comparison to the world: 151
by type: cargo 1 (2008)
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Paramaribo, Wageningen
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Military ::Suriname
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National Army (Nationaal Leger, NL; includes Naval Wing, Air Wing) (2007)
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18 years of age (est.); recruitment is voluntary, with personnel drawn almost exclusively from the Creole community (2007)
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males age 16-49: 130,534
females age 16-49: 130,243 (2008 est.)
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males age 16-49: 107,367
females age 16-49: 111,000 (2009 est.)
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male: 4,251
female: 4,265 (2009 est.)
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0.6% of GDP (2006 est.)
country comparison to the world: 156
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Transnational Issues ::Suriname
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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 (UNCLOS) arbitration to resolve the long-standing dispute with Suriname over the axis of the territorial sea boundary in potentially oil-rich waters
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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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