New Delhi, March 29 (IANS) Amid BRICS's growing engagement with the 54-nation continent, South African President Jacob Zuma Thursday said Africa was "treated with respect" and not patronised in this five-nation grouping of emerging economies.
Zuma also underlined that South Africa was proud to join the BRICS and claimed that it represented the entire continent.
"In BRICS, we have a place where we feel that Africa is being treated with respect. Our views are treated equally among the partners. There is no feeling that some people are looking down on the continent of Africa," said Zuma in a slightly emotive tone.
Zuma's comments are seen as a jibe at the West's alleged patronising attitude towards African countries and an indication that BRICS' engagement with Africa is poised for an acceleration.
Over the last decade, China, India and Brazil have scaled up their trade and investment with African countries dramatically, triggering anxiety in the West that still continues to be the continent's largest trading partner.
The BRICS countries stepped up their trade with the continent from barely $3.5 billion in 2000 to over $200 billion in 2011.
South Africa, the smallest economy in the grouping which is often seen as an odd member in an even grouping, joined the BRIC in 2010, changing its nomenclature to BRICS.
Read More: South Korea | Central African Republic | South Delhi | South West Delhi | North West Delhi | South Goa | South 24 Parganas | South Dinajpur | South Sikkim | South Garo Hills | South Tripura | Patel Nagar South | South Avenue | South Malviya Nagar | South Delhi Campus | New Delhi South Ext-ii | South City-i | South City-ii | Jacob Circle | Triplicane South