flag Suriname Suriname: Economic Outline

Economic Indicators

Suriname is a small, natural-resource-rich, upper-middle-income country in South America whose economy is driven by its abundant natural resources, with mining accounting for nearly half of public sector revenue and gold representing more than three-quarters of total exports, making the country extremely vulnerable to external shocks. Strong economic growth, averaging 4.4%, was recorded from 2001 to 2014; however, since then, Suriname’s economy has been in decline. According to the World Bank, output growth is estimated to have moderated to 2.1% in 2023, from a 2.4% rebound in 2022. Services and industry (manufacturing and construction) led the expansion, supported by recovery in agriculture. Real output growth in 2024 is projected to accelerate to 3.0%, propelled by public investment spending in non-oil sectors. Growth is anticipated to sustain momentum over the medium term despite fiscal consolidation, with private investment in infrastructure for the oil and gas sector gaining traction.

Suriname's fiscal policy is focused on restoring debt sustainability while enhancing the quality of public spending and safeguarding vulnerable individuals through improved social assistance. In 2023, the government attained a primary surplus of 1.6%, thanks to a range of revenue and expenditure measures. These measures encompassed the gradual elimination of energy subsidies, the broadening of VAT coverage on goods and services, and the exclusion of unregistered workers from public payrolls. Additionally, negotiations for debt restructuring with the majority of official and private creditors have concluded, and in December 2023, Standard and Poor's upgraded Suriname's credit rating to CCC+/C with a stable outlook, following the successful exchange with private bondholders. The country’s debt-to-GDP ratio was estimated at 107% in 2023 by the IMF, compared to 120.1% one year earlier. The fiscal position is forecasted to further improve as the government finalizes debt restructuring and terminates fuel subsidies to parastatals. Gross financing needs are anticipated to decrease until 2026, although external debt repayment is expected to rise in the medium to long term as grace periods on restructured debt expire (World Bank). In the long term, revenue from offshore oil production will continue to expand, providing additional fiscal room for social programs and fostering resilient economic growth. Currency stabilization, coupled with decreasing global inflationary pressures, led to a moderation in domestic inflation to 32.6% (year-on-year) by December 2023. This rate is expected to notably slow down in 2024 and over the medium term, as the government maintains a stringent monetary policy and external inflationary pressures diminish.

The unemployment rate stood at 8% in 2023. Initial results from a recent poverty assessment reveal that in 2022, following years of macroeconomic difficulties, roughly 17.5% of the population resided below the World Bank's upper-middle-income poverty line of USD 6.85 (2017 PPP) per day. Inequality, quantified by the Gini coefficient, stood at approximately 38.9, consistent with levels observed in other countries within the region. The country also faces problems with access to water and sanitation services. Housing is another big challenge, with a significant number of people living in illegal dwellings on land they do not own. Unskilled labor, underdeveloped infrastructure, and restricted access to credit further hinder Suriname's population.

 
Main Indicators 20222023 (E)2024 (E)2025 (E)2026 (E)
GDP (billions USD) 3.633.754.344.604.79
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) 2.42.13.03.03.0
GDP per Capita (USD) 5,7845,8856,7027,0017,178
General Government Balance (in % of GDP) -3.00.31.01.00.8
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 116.891.887.982.278.3
Inflation Rate (%) 52.451.620.714.89.7
Current Account (billions USD) 0.080.090.090.090.08
Current Account (in % of GDP) 2.12.42.11.81.7

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database - October 2021.

Note: (e) Estimated Data


 
Monetary Indicators 20162017201820192020
Surinam Dollar (SRD) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 GBP 8.419.649.969.3811.94

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.

 

Main Sectors of Industry

 
Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 7.9 26.6 65.5
Value Added (in % of GDP) 9.2 36.7 51.7
Value Added (Annual % Change) -7.5 -10.9 1.7

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.

 
Socio-Demographic Indicators 2024 (e)2025 (e)2026 (e)
Unemployment Rate (%) 10.310.09.9

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database - Latest available data

 

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The Active Population in Figures

201820192020
Labour Force 217,128219,507207,832

Source: International Labour Organization, ILOSTAT database

 
201720182019
Total activity rate 56.86%56.88%56.83%
Men activity rate 69.76%69.56%69.52%
Women activity rate 43.70%43.93%43.89%

Source: International Labour Organization, ILOSTAT database

 

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Indicator of Economic Freedom

Definition:

The Economic freedom index measure ten components of economic freedom, grouped into four broad categories or pillars of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption); Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labour freedom, monetary freedom); and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). Each of the freedoms within these four broad categories is individually scored on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall economic freedom score is a simple average of its scores on the 10 individual freedoms.

Score:
46,4/100
World Rank:
169
Regional Rank:
29

Economic freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Index of Economic Freedom, Heritage Foundation

 
 

Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by Coface.

 

Indicator of Political Freedom

Definition:

The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.

Ranking:
Free
Political Freedom:
2/7

Political freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Freedom in the World Report, Freedom House

 

Indicator of Freedom of the Press

Definition:

The world rankings, published annually, measures violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire incorporating the main criteria (44 in total) to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. This questionnaire was sent to partner organisations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:
19/180

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Sources of General Economic Information

Main Online Newspapers and Portals
Culturu (in Dutch)
Dagblad Suriname (in Dutch)
De Ware Tijd (in Dutch)
De West (in Dutch)
Suriname Newspapers online
Useful Resources
Official Government Website
Ministry of Finance and Planning
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Business & International Cooperation
Ministry of Economic Affairs, Entrepreneurship and Technological Innovation
Central Bank of Suriname
 
 

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Latest Update: May 2024

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