Suriname (formerly Dutch Guiana), officially the Republic of Suriname, is a country in northern South America. Suriname is the smallest sovereign state in terms of area and population in South America. The country is the only Dutch-speaking region in the Western Hemisphere which is not a part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Suriname is extremely diverse ethnically, linguistically, and religiously; a multi-ethnic society of about 495,000 people, living in a country 3 times the size of Nova Scotia (163,800 km2).
The society is composed of the indigenous people, Maroons, Creoles, Hindustanis, Javanese, Chinese, Lebanese, Brazilians and descendants of Europeans. It is located on the Caribbean coast of South America, between Guyana and French Guyana. Having overcome difficult times early in it’s independence (1975) from Holland, Suriname has a democratically elected government, and due to its relative anonymity, has many undiscovered business opportunities.
Suriname's economy has been dominated by the exports of alumina, oil, and gold. Other export products include bananas, shrimp and fish, rice, and lumber. In 2006, alumina accounted for approximately 46.2% of total exports. Government income from the oil sector, however, has surpassed that of the bauxite/alumina sector. Suriname's bauxite deposits have been among the worlds richest.
Most of the population of Suriname lives in the narrow coastal region. The population in the interior mainly consists of Amerindians (around 10,000) and Maroons (around 50,000) which have only limited contact with the formal and urban sectors of the population.