Teachers in the West African state of Guinea Bissau have been on strike for a week. Yesterday they were joined by health workers.

Teachers and children in the country frequently work in appalling conditions - schools often have no buildings or furniture. Teachers can remain unpaid for months and there have been frequent strikes as a result of this. The health workers are also striking about working conditions and salaries.

Guinea Bissau is one of the poorest countries in the world with 69% of the population living on less than 2$ a day. However private investors are already sniffing round, with one businessman pointing out that the country is 'rich in a variety of mineral resources such as phosphate and bauxite. Most of these resources remain unexploited due to a lack of infrastructure. Several offshore oil discoveries have also been made although their commercial viability remains uncertain.

'Off Guinea-Bissau’s coast lie the magnificent Bijagós Islands, an archipelago of about 20 tropical islands. Although there are some facilities on the islands catering for tourists, their potential for eco-tourism remains largely untapped.'

It is highly unlikely however that all this untapped potential will significantly benefit either the country's children or its teachers.