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. According to Countryaah.com, the 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.