China holds the majority of Suriname’s debt. Last year, Suriname owed China more than 550 million US dollars. President Chandrikapersad Santokhi claims that over the previous two to three years, China has not put pressure on the Surinamese government to pay back this loan.
Between 2008 and 2016, these debts were racked up, among other things, for broadband network, infrastructure, and home building. You could say that China has us by the balls because of the size of our debt to them. To conclude the bilateral debt restructuring, Santokhi anticipates holding talks with President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China soon. Santokhi is hoping that these discussions would soon result in a debt restructuring arrangement.
As a result of the global Belt and Road project (BRI), which has enhanced trade routes and strengthened infrastructure in more than 150 countries, we feel that investments in Suriname are not isolated given that they have primarily been made in infrastructure over the past ten years. China has benefited from the network.
WeChat and Uni5Pay, two widely used Fintech payment systems, have developed into a somewhat uncontrolled and poor compliance portion of the Surinamese digital and informal economy.
Furthermore, Keerpunt is aware that as consumer preferences for Chinese cuisine expand to include well-known high concept franchises like “boba,” “milk teas,” and multi-location restaurants, there has been an increase in labor migration, investor base, and even traditional employeeship over the past five years. In conclusion, Suriname is important not only as a debtor but also as a market for goods and an investment hub. In particular, at a time when escalating tensions with Russia, India, and China are moving towards NATO countries across the spectrum in the broker position, a moderate non-aligned policy is the most beneficial for diplomatic relations.