- - Thursday, October 9, 2014

Sustainable economic growth is a key pillar of Suriname’s medium and long-term development strategy. Recognizing the important role that foreign direct investment (FDI) plays in building long term growth, the Government of President Desir Delano Bouterse established the Investment Development Corporation of Suriname (IDCS) on April 18, 2014.

“The IDCS is intended to be a one-stop window for foreign investors looking to invest in Suriname,” says Astra Singh, Chief Communications Officer at IDCS. This includes guiding foreign investors through the process of dealing with various governmental decision-making entities, providing access to local projects and entrepreneurs, and conducting outbound delegations and marketing initiatives to raise awareness of the opportunities in Suriname to international investors.

Attracting Private Sector Know-How

One of the ways IDCS is playing a lead role in facilitating sustainable growth is through its mandate to privatize a number of state-owned enterprises in the agricultural sector and to develop some 30,000 hectares of land into a foundation for increased agricultural exports. Agriculture represents about 11 percent of Suriname’s total export base at present far behind the leading export sectors of gold, oil and bauxite.

A more diversified agro-industrial export base will include some areas where Suriname, through IDCS, has already made a promising start, including palm oil, rice, cocoa, fruits, vegetables and aquaculture. This is squarely in line with the Government’s stated intention to transition over time from non-renewable extractable commodities like gold, bauxite and petroleum to sustainable resources. Suriname’s President stated several times that he envisions his country to be the food basket of the region when agricultural investments take off. Especially Caribbean islands that are mostly rocky and therefore lack the needed land- and water resources could benefit from a cut in distribution costs when its close neighbor starts producing crops on its ample available arable land. Legal reforms to support tax incentives and business-friendly legislation and procedures are also being developed to create an attractive environment for private sector investors.

Promoting Suriname’s Natural Advantages

As the public face of Suriname’s investment strategy, IDCS seeks to capitalize on the abundant natural advantages the country possesses. Other than its close neighbors, Suriname is blessed not to be struck by major natural disasters. It has one of the best reputations in the region for safety and security. There is no history of asset seizures or nationalizations. Together with a sound macroeconomic position and recent favorable international credit ratings, these aspects of our country should bring about greater FDI flows in the years ahead.”

Ms. Singh also notes that Suriname, by way of its membership in various political and economic organizations, has access to various investment windows active in the region including the Inter-American Investment Bank (IDB), International Finance Corporation (IFC), European Investment Bank (EIB) and Islamic Development Bank.

Coordinating and Aligning for Growth

Achieving a successful investment outreach program requires a considerable amount of coordination among many moving parts both within the Government and in the private sector. The policies set out by the President need to be implemented by several players in Suriname which include the Office of the Vice President, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Finance and Planning, and the entities with oversight responsibilities for some of the main sectors, including the Ministries of Agriculture, Forestry, Natural Resources, Trade and Tourism. Aligning the activities of these and other stakeholders is a key operational pillar of IDCS’s mandate. “Our 2016-2021 Development Plan envisions something in the order of $400 million of investments needed annually” says IDCS’s Singh. “An ambitious goal for a country that is only now trying to diversify its economy. It is therefore of strategic importance to identify the right investors for the country’s purposeful sustainable development plans; in other words, to match the opportunities of Suriname with the right partners.”

This article was produced in conjunction with The Washington Times International Advocacy Department.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide