The smallest country in South America, Suriname is an upper middle income country with a strong performing economy. In fact, it has emerged as one of the Caribbean’s best performing economies over the last decade, due largely to its rich endowment in natural resources and biodiversity. The country recorded average growth of 4.4 percent for the period 2000-2013 and the per capita income of its population of 530,000 has risen concomitantly to nearly US$8,900 in 2013.
Suriname’s economy is highly concentrated in the extractive industries (gold, oil, and bauxite), which plays a key role in driving growth, employment and government revenues. While high commodity prices have benefited Suriname for several years, reliance on natural resource revenues exposes the country to commodity price fluctuations. The sustainability of Suriname’s development progress is also highly vulnerable to climatic disasters, especially flooding as a result of rising sea levels, which have had high human costs and created financial pressures for households, private businesses and public finances.
To address these issues, the Government is giving high priority to promote economic diversification through broad private sector development, strengthen social services, and better manage disaster risks. The National Development Plan lays out a detailed set of priorities and actions to address economic and climatic vulnerabilities. The Government has reached out to several international development agencies including the World Bank Group (WBG) and bilateral governments to assist in implementing its plan.
Suriname’s levels of poverty and inequality though improving, remain worrisome. The country ranked 100 out of 187 countries in the UNDP’s 2014 Human Development Index. There are also significant inequalities between coastal areas, generally more affluent, and the rural interior.
Last Updated: Apr 01, 2015