Suriname faces several challenges, particularly in the sectors of education, health, transport, energy and the environment.
AFD supports the country and focuses its operations on three core objectives:
- to improve access to health and education services and infrastructure for the populations of the Maroni River;
- to promote the economic development and opening up of the East region which borders French Guiana;
- to implement a joint policy for the rational management of natural resources on the Guiana Shield.
Dwarfed by neighbouring giants Brazil and Venezuela, territories of the Guiana Shield have long been fumbling to define their economic development strategy. Despite having only recently emerged as a concept, regional cooperation has become a key development approach for Suriname, French Guyana and the State of Amapa in Brazil. In order to support companies working towards an improved regional integration, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of French Guyana, in partnership with its Surinamese (KKF) and Brazilian (SEBRAE) counterparts, organised the “Rendez-vous Brazil Guyana Suriname”, on the 4th and 5th of July in Paramaribo.
Organized around brainstorming sessions on practical topics (trade barriers, transport standards, investment tools…), the Rendezvous provided about a hundred businessmen, policy makers and institutions from the three countries with a cross-border platform for meetings and exchanges to launch new partnership strategies.
Through a presentation delivered as part of the workshop on “tools for regional integration”, AFD showed how it could foster opportunities for companies in the region. Well established in the three countries, AFD is indeed at the heart of this strategy of regional cooperation: it contributes to open Surinamese and Brazilian calls for bids to foreign companies, to help small businesses in French Guyana to export, and to develop trade corridors by financing major transport infrastructures such as the road linking the capital of Suriname to the Guyanese border.
Medical and para-medical equipments purchased as part of AFD-sponsored Health Project in Suriname have now been delivered in the hospitals of Paramaribo. The corresponding investment amounts to 5.6 million Euros, which represents one-third of the loan granted by AFD to the government of Suriname.
Part of the equipment is temporarily stored before being installed in their places of use (such as the Albina Hospital), others are already functioning at the Academic Hospital and the Diakonesse Hospital. Dialysis equipment, delivered in Suriname in December 2011, X-ray equipment and ultrasound or various laboratory equipment figure among the equipment purchased through the AFD loan. Three ambulances have also been purchased from a local supplier.
Marginalized since the civil war of the 1980s, Eastern Suriname -French Guiana's border region- is one of the area whose development is lagging behind the rest of the country. This imbalance is confirmed by many indicators, as GDP / capita, school enrollment or access to healthcare, which are well below those of the capital, Paramaribo, and of the coastal areas of Suriname. Through two on-going projects, AFD is supporting a balanced development of Suriname by focusing on the Marowijne District.
During a mission conducted in April by Mr. Philippe Orliange, director of the Latin America and Caribbean Department of AFD, the Minister of Finance, H.E. Ms. Adelien Wijnerman, the Foreign Minister, H. E. Mr. Winston Lackin, and the Governor of the Central Bank, Mr. Gillmore Hoefdraad, have expressed their willingness to strengthen cooperation with AFD and with their neighboring territory, French Guiana.
The rehabilitation of the road between Meerzog and Albina (the town bordering the Maroni river), will improve access to Albina and facilitate exchanges. The project is jointly funded by the European Union, the Inter-American Development Bank and AFD. provided a 25 millions Euros concessional loan in this framework. The works should be completed by late 2013.
Through a 15 millions Euros loan and a 1,1 million Euros grant,, AFD also supports the improvement of health care services in the interior of the country. This second project includes the construction of the new Hospital of Albina and of several health centers in isolated areas, the provision of medical equipments and also a bilateral cooperation component involving the Surinamese and French authorities of the health sector. Mr. Orliange and Mr. Robert Satgé, AFD representative in Cayenne, visited the site of the future Hospital with the Minister of Health and the Ambassador of France in Suriname. Works should be completed in fall 2013.
AFD’s intervention participates to the new impetus of the relationships between France and Suriname and favours a greater integration of the Guiana Shield.