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  REPORT - SURINAME
 

THE SMALLEST INDEPENDENT NATION IN SOUTH AMERICA, SURINAME IS SEEKING TO BALANCE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT WITH PROTECTION OF ITS NATURAL BEAUTY AND POTENTIAL FOR ECO-TOURISM
Prospective partnerships in natural abundance

Suriname’s capital, the former Dutch colonial town of Paramaribo, exports bauxite, sugarcane, rice, cacao, rum, and tropical woods.

Boosted by a global boom in commodity prices and increased investment in the gold and bauxite sector, Suriname’s economy has expanded tremendously in the past few years. Negative growth has been turned around to an increase in GDP of almost 5 percent in 2005, with a similar rise forecast for this year. The Surinamese dollar was successfully launched last year, and the privatization program is on track.

President Ronald Venetiaan says, “A country with such unexploited resources should be like heaven on earth for investors and tourists alike.” The re-election of President Venetiaan last year has reinforced political stability, a key factor for Suriname’s development.

“If we stay on course with this administration, then we can make good progress in the upcoming five years," says André Telting, Governor of the Central Bank. “The major opportunities are in the mining sector, where there are different ores, not only bauxite, gold, or oil. Then we have the fishery and the lumber sectors to develop. We also need to upgrade our traffic, airport, and seaport systems."

GREGORY RUSLAND
GREGORY RUSLAND
Minister of Natural Resources

Located on the Guyana shield on the northern edge of South America, Suriname is rich in minerals and biological diversity. One of the largest producers of bauxite, it is blessed with huge untapped oil reserves, together with gold, diamonds, timber and water. It is a land of breathtaking natural beauty—80 percent of its territory is rainforest—with major potential for the development of eco-tourism.

Gregory Rusland, Minister of Natural Resources, says efforts are being made to support new industries. He points out, "We have to find strategies to increase energy generation, not only for the population, but also for the private sector."

Environmental management is going to be very important, and the minister affirms, "We should be very careful in exploiting these minerals because what we have to work towards is sustainable development."