The Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) has issued a loan of US$45mn to the Suriname government to improve its export capacity and logistics sector.
The funding will be used in three areas to tackle crucial logistics bottlenecks. US$10mn is allocated to provide systems and equipment to improve the efficiency of infrastructure and port operations in the Latin American country, this is expected to drive up productivity and therefore trade.
The majority of the loan (US$30mn) will be used to reconstruct sections of road networks related to its major Paramaribo port to reduce costs associated with transportation and travel times, while also improving safety and climate resilience.
The remaining US$5mn will be used to train Surinamese officials in project management, engineering and monitoring, providing a boost to planning capacity for the transport sector. This will be accompanied by the training and empowering of women in logistics services in the country.
The financing is part of the IADB’s country strategy for Suriname, which runs from 2016 to 2020 (Figure 1) and has thus far seen the multilateral organisation provide US$270.5mn in loans across various sectors.
Energy has received the most funding (US$63mn), followed by agriculture (US$47.5mn) and then transport (US$40mn).
Figure 1: IADB loans to Suriname by sector (US$mn), 2016 – 2020
The IADB also recently loaned US$10mn to InvestSur, the Surinamese public economic development agency, to roll out initiatives aimed at attracting foreign investment and promoting exports in non-extractive industries, such as agriculture, agribusiness, tourism and global services.
Steady exports for Suriname
With annual exports of around US$1.4bn, Suriname has maintained positive export growth rates this year (8.2% in Q1), as tumbling global prices hit many of Latin America’s commodity exporters.
Figure 2: Latin American and Caribbean exports
After growing 8.9% in 2018, exports from Latin American and Caribbean countries are estimated to have fallen by 1.6% in the first quarter of 2019, with crisis-hit Venezuela recording the biggest export hit at -26.2% (Figure 2).
Latin American and Caribbean countries that recorded growth in the first few months of the year included Jamaica (13.3%), Ecuador (1.2%) and Mexico (2.3%). Countries with worse growth rates included Paraguay (-10.7%), Belize (-12.8%) and Honduras (-11.6%).