SURINAM—formerly known as Netherlands Guiana—is situated between the Republic of Guyana and French Guiana on the northeast coast of South America. The country covers an area of about 60,000 square miles but has a population of only about 400,000. Surinam’s economic potential lies largely in its natural resources, which include huge deposits of high-quality bauxite. In the early postwar period Surinam was the world’s main supplier of bauxite, accounting for about one fourth of the world supply. Despite a rapid expansion of bauxite production in the 1960s, Surinam has nevertheless lost its leading position in this field to Jamaica and Australia. Prospecting has revealed the existence of other minerals, which have thus far remained undeveloped. The coastal area and parts of the interior are eminently suitable for agriculture. Production of rice—the main crop—has been stimulated in the framework of the Wageningen scheme, one of the largest mechanized rice estates in the Western Hemisphere. Other important crops include bananas, sugar cane, and citrus fruits. Forests, which cover about 80 per cent of the area of Surinam, include a wide variety of accessible wood resources, which have hardly begun to be developed. The country’s large rivers have a substantial potential for producing hydroelectric power.
The non-oil middle-income developing countries have so far been remarkably successful in cushioning the effects of both the recession and their worsened terms of trade through increased international borrowing. This article suggests that they have the ability to maintain a reasonably high rate of growth over the medium term, while progressively reducing their reliance upon external borrowing as their exports expand. Success will depend heavily upon internal policies in these countries, as well as upon trends in the world economy.