Gabon is 85% rainforest. Flying over the giant canopy, the miles pass without a glimpse of the forest floor.
Then a bald patch emerges. In the clearing in Awala, which has become Africa’s biggest industrial plantation, men in boots tend to thousands of small palm trees in long rows.
They are setting the scene for palm oil production, which the government says is one of the best ways to tackle the country’s terrible inequality. Gabon is one of Africa’s richest countries, but many of its citizens are among the poorest – a malady common in countries rich with natural resources.