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Investments in Suriname

By Dennis Lapar

Dennis Lapar
Dennis Lapar

Amsterdam, 26 December 2021– In the year

In the year of 2021, ‘diaspora capital’ was the word of the year in Suriname. 

The Surinamese population had drawn hope from the VHP words during the last election campaign. The people have been told that the diaspora from the Netherlands (Surinamese Dutch) will invest a few billion euros in Suriname. 

The Surinamese people have ensured that VHP has become the largest party in Suriname. In Suriname people are looking forward to diaspora capital.

Surinamese Dutch

Most Surinamese Dutch who were born in Suriname and now live in the Netherlands have worked hard. They have a good income and live in a prosperous country. The developments in Suriname are closely followed by the Surinamese Dutch. They read the online newspaper reports and articles. They also listen to the Surinamese radio stations. In short, Suriname remains in their hearts.

Toward a Free and Equal Society

Short or long stay in Suriname

Most Surinamese Dutch want to stay in Suriname for a period of time, provided it is safe. For the sake of brevity, I refer to them as diaspora. The period in Suriname can be short (maximum 3 months) or long (more than 3 months). The diaspora takes money with them and ensures that the money ends up directly in the Surinamese economy. The diaspora ensures that the money literally rolls into the shops, restaurants, car rental companies, landlords of homes, hotels, apartments, resorts, companies, taxis, security companies, etc. The diaspora is not a burden for the Surinamese government. The diaspora loves their country and wants the people in Suriname to do well economically and socially.

What is diaspora capital?

Suppose that of the 150,000 Surinamese Dutch, approximately 10,000 stay in Suriname in a year (including short and long stays), then approximately EUR 84 million will enter the Surinamese economy directly. From the many conversations with the diaspora in the period from 2008 to the present, it appears that an average of EUR 700 per month is spent in Suriname by a Surinamese Dutch person. I have taken into account couples and family members. 

At 10,000, the calculation is: 10,000 times euros 700 times 12 months is euros 84 million. 

Suppose that 20,000 people stay in Suriname in a year, then the amount increases to Euro 168 million. In the years 2015 to 2019, at least 30,000 Surinamese Dutch were on average per year in Suriname, either short or long. 

In these years, the Surinamese Dutch have invested at least 250 million annually in the Surinamese economy. This contribution from the Surinamese Dutch is very welcome in Suriname. 

The diaspora capital is the money that the Surinamese Dutch invest in Suriname during their stay in their country of birth. 

The money that is sent monthly by the diaspora for their family and friends has not been included in the amount of EUR 250 million. I have not done that, since the diaspora has been sending money to relatives in Suriname since the independence of Suriname. 

I want to separate the residence of the diaspora in Suriname from the money transfers by the diaspora to Suriname. 

With this explanation I hope that the inhabitants of Suriname will no longer shout: “Where is the diaspora capital?” 

Diaspora capital has been in the Surinamese economy for years. The corona pandemic has ensured that the number of Surinamese Dutch people who visited Suriname in 2020 and 2021 has fallen sharply, and so has the diaspora capital, as indicated by short and long stays.

Investment projects

Most Surinamese Dutch will not have their savings transferred from Dutch bank accounts to a bank account in Suriname or an investment project in Suriname. Until now I do not know why the VHP has indicated during the election campaign that the diaspora wants to invest a lot of money in Suriname. The diaspora in the Netherlands has not said that.

The inhabitants of Suriname should not blame the Surinamese Dutch. That is very unfair. The Surinamese Dutch have worked very hard and saved money for other things. They will never take the risk of transferring their savings to Suriname to finance government projects. The Surinamese Dutch need the savings for their old age and other fun things in life.

Dennis Lapar

Director Finance Suriname Foundation

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