10 June 2024

Country Focus: Financial Inclusion and Financial Education in Suriname 

 Suriname, a small, culturally diverse nation in South America with a history of economic development challenges and social disparities, is committed to empowering its citizens with financial knowledge and access to essential financial services, and to achieving an inclusive society where everyone can build a secure financial future. 

Currently, while traditional banking services are available in urban centers, access to financial services remains limited in rural and remote areas. In some cases, Surinamese rely on informal financial mechanisms, such as rotating savings and informal moneylenders, for their financial needs.  

The Central Bank of Suriname (CBvS) is promoting financial inclusion through various initiatives and policies. These include collaborations with banks and other stakeholders to develop the strategy and regulatory frameworks to enhance access to financial services for the citizens, the unbanked and the underserved.  

In 2022, the CBvS, in collaboration with the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) and other stakeholders, conducted a Financial Inclusion and Education demand side survey. This baseline measurement collected data on the access, use and quality of formal financial products and services used by various target groups, and on the financial inclusion gender gap between men and women. The survey revealed that 72% of adults were financially included, with a 4% gender gap. 10% of respondents had a small or medium-sized company, the vast majority of them (86%) sole proprietorships, and 19% of entrepreneurs had opened a separate bank account for their company. Detailed survey results are available here 

The CBvS, together with external stakeholders, has set up a national payment council. A Financial Inclusion Bill is being drafted, and a Financial Inclusion and Education policy strategy, to be launched this year, should reduce the exclusion of vulnerable groups while fostering a more inclusive society. Financial Education activities form part of the strategy, such as Financial Education awareness campaigns that build on the annual Global Money Week organized by the CBvS.  

Looking forward, priorities within the CBvS revolve around strengthening regulations and increasing the efficiency of payments through the Surinamese National Payment System, developing the supervisory framework (oversight) for payment systems, expanding financial education programs to reach diverse target groups, and utilizing digital channels for educational outreach.  

The Central Bank of Suriname joined the Alliance for Financial Inclusion in 2015, and the Bank’s active engagement and collaboration with AFI peers worldwide has enriched its approach to financial inclusion, bringing valuable global insights and best practices into local strategies. In 2016, the CBvS committed to AFI’s “Maya Declaration”, a global initiative for responsible and sustainable financial inclusion which aims to reduce poverty and ensure financial stability.  

In 2016, the CBvS made its first Maya Declaration commitment to train at least 100 people through a train-the-trainer course for small and medium-sized entrepreneurs (SMEs). The project, which aimed to equip trainers with skills to foster entrepreneurship and promote sound financial management, emerged from a knowledge exchange program between the CBvS and the Central Bank of Trinidad & Tobago. By conducting the demand-side survey in 2022, the CBvS met its second commitment, and is now working towards its third commitment: achieving a 30% reduction in cash usage within two years.  

Suriname is fully committed to ensuring that financial services are accessible to all citizens, particularly those unbanked and underserved. Through its financial inclusion and education policies, the country aims to create a more inclusive society where every citizen can participate in and benefit from the financial system. This ongoing journey promises to contribute significantly to the nation’s economic growth and socio-economic development, paving the way for a secure financial future for all Surinamese. 


You can learn more about the Central Bank of Suriname’s activities on their website. 

© Alliance for Financial Inclusion 2009-2024