BARCLAYS is targeting millionaires in emerging markets and squeezing more revenue from super-rich clients with at least £50m of investable assets.

Barclays, which has a controlling stake in Absa, the South African lender with more than 12-million customers, is targeting Africans joining the middle class. On February 10, Barclays CEO Robert Diamond said the firm was continuing to invest in its wealth unit and in Africa.

Average revenue per client at the super-rich unit increased 41% last year, said Stefanie Drews, European head of key clients and family offices at the London-based bank. Barclays has 1800 so-called key clients in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Ms Drews said, declining to give further details on revenue earned or assets under management.

Ms Drews said she returned from a trip to SA last week with 50 new client prospects, including entrepreneurs outside the mining and oil industries such as a clothing chain owner and the founder of a water bottle company.

"It's no longer just someone who owns a commodities-based business," said Ms Drews, who also plans trips to Nigeria and Kenya. "There are some very impressive start-ups."

Barclays's wealth business is in the middle of a five-year £350m investment programme as it tries to close the gap on HSBC Holdings and Credit Suisse. Barclays, which gets almost a third of its assets from UK customers, said the super-rich in the Middle East, Africa and Russia offered some of the greatest potential.

"The Middle East has been the biggest area of growth," she said, citing oil wealth and political turmoil as key drivers. "Africa is a huge area of opportunity."

Key clients, most of whom have more than £50m, can join Barclays's investment club, which offers access to hedge funds, private-equity funds and off-market transactions.