Economic Outline

flag Suriname Suriname: Economic Outline

Economic Indicators

For the latest updates on the key economic responses from governments to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the IMF's policy tracking platform Policy Responses to COVID-19.

In 2021, Suriname's GDP grew by an estimated 1.3%, mainly driven by gold exports. According to updated IMF forecasts, GDP growth is expected to pick up to 2.3% in 2023 and 3% in 2024. The economy remains heavily dependent on mineral sector exports, and the oil sector could attract new foreign investors thanks to the discovery of a new oil fields offshore. In fact, the discovery of new hydrocarbon fields off the coast of Suriname in 2022, as well as the expectation of further discoveries, is expected to boost private investment in 2023, especially FDI. This surge in investment is set to improve the country's economic outlook, with  with a sharp increase in oil production expected from 2025 onward.

According to the IMF, the government balance was in a deficit of 3.1% of GDP in 2022, a rate which is expected to improve to 0.3% in 2023 and 1% in 2024. In September 2020, the Central Bank of Suriname sharply devalued the Surinamese dollar against the U.S. dollar, closing the gap between the official exchange rate and the parallel market rate. As a result, the inflation rate has abruptly increased. In 2022, however, inlfation decreased to 52.5% and it should continue to experience a sharp drop in 2023 and 2024, to 42.7% and 27.3%, respectively. That decline mainly stems from the implementation of a more consolidated monetary policy, with stricter control of money supply, and the expected moderation in global food and energy prices. As for gross debt, Suriname owed 123.2% of its GDP in 2022, with expectations of this rate improving in 2021 and 2022, when debt should account for 112.2% and 103.2% of GDP, respectively. In general, Suriname’s economy is characterised by strong dependence on exports of extractives and a large public sector. Alumina, bauxite, gold and oil have historically made up around 75% of total exports. These factors make the economy vulnerable to shocks from changes in world commodity prices. The Government plays a large role in the economy by employing over half of all workers. State-owned firms also dominate a number of industries. However, in order to maintain its macroeconomic stability, the Government has started a privatisation programme. Challenges include a weak fiscal situation, rising public debt, an underdeveloped monetary policy framework and a vulnerable banking sector, as well as rapid currency depreciation, poor tax collection, corruption in public officials, high rates of inflation, and reduction of foreign aid.

The unemployment rate stood at 10.9% in 2022 and it is expected to slightly decrease to 10.3% in 2023. Furthermore, poverty affects almost half of the population, and children have unequal access to education, especially in the poorer areas. 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 labour, 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) 3.513.543.994.434.74
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) 1.02.13.03.03.0
GDP per Capita (USD) 5,6875,6676,3196,9337,329
General Government Balance (in % of GDP) -3.10.30.90.90.8
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 120.1107.093.983.777.6
Inflation Rate (%) n/a53.330.917.111.9
Current Account (billions USD) 0.080.050.040.030.01
Current Account (in % of GDP) 2.21.51.00.60.2

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

Note: (e) Estimated Data


 
Monetary Indicators 20162017201820192020
Surinam Dollar (SRD) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 MUR 0.180.220.220.210.24

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.

 

Main Sectors of Industry

Agriculture accounted for 11.6% of GDP in 2017. Products included rice, bananas, palm kernels, coconuts, plantains, peanuts, beef, chicks, shrimp, and forest products.

Industry accounted for 31.1% of GDP in 2017 and included bauxite and gold mining, alumina production, oil, lumbering, food processing, and fishing.

Services accounted for the remaining 57.4% of GDP in 2017.

 
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

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: November 2023