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Suriname Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

A modest economic recovery is projected to continue in 2019 as a result of higher oil prices and mineral exports. GDP growth is forecast to reach 1.8% in 2018 and 1.6% in 2019 following consecutive years of recession since 2015. Oil and mineral exports account for around 90% of goods exports, leaving the country highly vulnerable to commodity price fluctuations over the next 12 months. The Budget deficit is falling but is likely to remain high in 2019, generating pressure to raise additional taxes if oil and mineral revenues fall. The introduction of VAT, required by the IMF as part of an abandoned USD478 million Stand-By Arrangement and initially planned for 1 January 2018, has been indefinitely postponed. However, the government is likely to reconsider its introduction if the deficit widens.The risk of contract cancellation for major mining companies will remain low in 2019. Gold accounts for 60% of goods exports. Most of this is produced by two international mining operators, Newmont and IAM Gold. In January 2018, President Desí Bouterse said he wanted to renegotiate mining contracts to increase state revenue, but there has been no further public comment on such a move as of July 2019. Given the economy’s reliance on the revenues generated by these two companies, the government is likely to be cautious in adopting measures that hinder further investment or trigger a deceleration in mineral output.Bouterse’s government is stable and does not have to compete in elections until May 2020. However, polling results from April and May 2019 indicate he is at risk of losing several seats in 2020, which would deprive his National Democratic Party (NDP) of an absolute majority and force him to find a collation partner if he wants to secure a third term.
Last update: July 31, 2019

Operational Outlook

The operational environment is unlikely to improve substantially in the next year. The main frustrations relate to bureaucratic delays and corruption. In recent years several political leaders have been implicated in corruption scandals; President Dési Bouterse and his son Dino have separately been convicted for drug trafficking abroad (Bouterse denies the charges but his son pleaded guilty). Labour unrest is not a regular threat to the private sector although the mining industry is affected. Splits in the union movement mean strikes and protests risks are likely to rise in the next year, chiefly affecting the public sector, primarily transport, education, and healthcare.

Last update: July 12, 2019

Terrorism

Elevated

Terrorism risks are likely to remain low in 2019. Two Dutch-Surinamese were arrested in July 2017 accused of plotting an attack on the American embassy in Paramaribo. No evidence has emerged of a wider threat. The Jungle Commando, a rebel group active in the 1980–90s, has disbanded and its former leader, Ronnie Brunswijk, has become an opposition politician. Drug traffickers operate in Suriname, using the country as a waypoint between Colombia and Europe. Drug-related violence is limited and unlikely to involve terrorist acts against civilians or the state within the one-year outlook.

Last update: July 12, 2019

Crime

Urban crime rates are likely to remain moderate, especially in the capital, Paramaribo. However, crime levels compare favourably with many other Caribbean and South American cities. There are reports of banditry and armed robbery in the interior and the security forces face resistance when trying to displace illegal miners. Drug trafficking is prevalent with evidence of involvement by state officials but is unlikely to affect visitors. In March 2015, Dino Bouterse, son of the president and former counter-terrorism official was convicted in the United States on drug trafficking charges.

Last update: August 14, 2019

War Risks

The risk of interstate war in Suriname is low for the next six months, despite unresolved border disputes with French Guiana and Guyana. The capacity of the Guyanese and Surinamese armed forces is minimal. Security issues with French Guiana are mainly limited to the presence of Surinamese illegal miners in the French territory. The risk of a return to civil war is low. Illegal miners in the interior of the country pose the greatest threat to the country's security forces.

Last update: July 12, 2019

Social Stability

Elevated

The risk of protests is declining but likely to remain elevated in 2019. In April 2017, around 10,000 people participated in peaceful protests over austerity measures, in which the involvement of trade unions and civil servants increased disruption levels. However, protests have become less intense in size and frequency. Demands for access to land and employment are likely to provoke occasional protests involving roadblocks in the mining sector.

Last update: July 9, 2019

Health Risk

Very high

Vaccines required to enter the country

Yellow fever: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for travelers arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission. A single dose of YF vaccine is sufficient to confer sustained life-long immunity against the disease; it should be taken ten days in advance to be fully effective.

Vaccines recommended for all travelers

Routine vaccinations: Consult your doctor to ensure all routine vaccinations - such as for diphtheria, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, influenza, measles, mumps, pertussis, rubella, varicella, etc. - are up to date (include booster shots if necessary).

Vaccines recommended for most travelers

Hepatitis A: The vaccine is given in two doses, six months apart, and is nearly 100 percent effective. The WHO recommends the vaccine be integrated into national routine immunization schedules for children aged one year or older.

Typhoid fever: The typhoid fever vaccine can be administered via injection (administered in one dose) or orally (four doses). The vaccine is only 50-80 percent effective, so travelers to areas with a risk of exposure to typhoid fever, a bacterial disease, should also take hygienic precautions (e.g. drink only bottled water, avoid undercooked foods, wash hands regularly, etc.). Children can be given the shot beginning at two years of age (six for the oral vaccine).

Yellow fever: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is generally recommended for travelers over nine months of age.

Vaccines recommended for some travelers

Hepatitis B: The WHO recommends that all infants receive their first dose of vaccine as soon as possible after birth, preferably within 24 hours. The birth dose should be followed by two or three doses to complete the primary series. Routine booster doses are not routinely recommended for any age group.

Rabies: The rabies vaccination is typically only recommended for travel to remote areas and if the traveler will be at high risk of exposure (e.g. undertaking activities that will bring them into contact with dogs, cats, bats, or other mammals). The vaccination is administered in three doses over a three-to-four week period. Post exposure prophylaxis is also available and should be administered as soon as possible following contact with an animal suspected of being infected (e.g. bites and scratches).

Malaria: There is currently no malaria vaccine. However, various antimalarial prophylactics are available by prescription and can reduce risk of infection by up to 90 percent. Different medications are prescribed depending on the risk level and the strains of the virus present in the destination. Antimalarial tablets need to be taken throughout the trip to be effective and may need to be taken for as long as four weeks following the trip.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Natural Risks

Severe

Travelers should note that the country's two rainy seasons occur from May to August and from November to February, during which the risk of flooding is high, particularly in the north and center of the country, including in the capital. Surinamese officials are poorly equipped to deal with flood-related emergencies and therefore nonessential travel to the interior of the country is not recommended during those periods. Heavy rains can also disrupt telecommunications.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Transportation

Elevated

Transportation (road) infrastructure remains largely underdeveloped throughout the country and road accident rates are high. In the event of a car accident, drivers by law must remain with their cars (unmoved) until the police arrive. This can result in major traffic congestion.

For safety reasons, public transportation (e.g. minibuses) should be avoided, particularly outside the capital. In cities it is best to use licensed taxi companies.

Suriname's Blue Wing Airlines has been banned from operating in European Union airspace due to poor safety standards. Concerns regarding the safety standards of the airline INSEL Air, which is based out of Curacao and serves Paramaribo-Zanderij International Airport (PBM), have also been raised.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information

Climate

Suriname has a humid tropical climate. There are two rainy seasons: the short rainy season lasts from November until February and the long rainy season from April until August. It is generally hotter and more humid inland than along the coast. Temperatures are constant throughout the year.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +597
Police: 112 or 47 11 11
Police, Fire Dept., Ambulance: 112

Electricity

Voltage: 127 V ~ 60 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: April 5, 2019