Suriname. Economically, 2017 was a worrying year for
Suriname. The forecasts spoke of economic growth of –1.2%,
making it the third consecutive year of negative growth.
opening of the new gold mine Newmont Merian in October 2016
was considered to be able to lift the growth figures to some
extent from the disastrous 2016 loss of 9%. Hopes for new
offshore oil prospects increased with the discovery during
the year of new oil fields in neighboring Guyana, but
exploration was not a success for Suriname.
As a result of the shrinking economy and falling oil and
gold revenues, petrol, water and electricity prices rose in
April, leading to protests with thousands of participants,
especially in the first weeks of April in the capital
Paramaribo. Union leaders singled out President Dési
Bouterses' economic policy as responsible for the situation
rather than world market prices. At the same time as the
budget deficit of 6% and inflation of 60% forced the
government into negotiations with the International Monetary
Fund (IMF) and promises to keep wages down, the country's
teachers in particular pressed for increased wages, and
teacher union leader Wilgo Valies was arrested by police
during the protests in April.