We have over 325 years of banking heritage and expertise, and our ties to the Middle East and Africa are over a century and a half old.


From our beginnings in Lombard Street, London in 1690 to the launch of the world’s first ATM as well as innovating mobile phone payments, we have over 325 years of banking heritage and expertise behind us.

Explore how we have remained at the forefront of innovation and service for over 325 years.


Our presence in the Middle East and Africa goes back to 1864, when the first Anglo-Egyptian Bank opened in Alexandria. Over the last century, as the region has evolved, so has our involvement in it.

Early 1900s

In Africa, our heritage dates back to the early 1900s as banking and financial services took a foothold in Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, Mauritius, South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Uganda. We expanded into Botswana and the Seychelles in the 1950s. Since 1925, Barclays has been operating directly in Africa, when Barclays Bank (Dominion, Colonial and Overseas) was formed as an amalgamation of the Colonial Bank, the National Bank of South Africa and the Anglo-Egyptian Bank.

1967 to 2000

In 1967, Barclays opened a regional office in Lebanon (Beirut) to support the neighbouring countries and Gulf states, which was shifted to Istanbul in 1976. Illustrating a deeper focus on the Middle East in 1975, Barclays opened branches in the United Arab Emirates, in Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah.

Early 2000s to the present

By 2002 there were Barclays Capital offices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and in 2005, International Banking launched a Swiss Private Banking platform in Dubai. This was followed by the launch of retail banking in Dubai to coincide with the launch of Barclaycard in the region. During the same year, Barclays Wealth opened a new office in Dubai and launched its service for Intermediaries and Corporates.

By 2016, Barclays Wealth and Investment Management had established itself as an award-winning business focusing on the entire Middle East and Africa region through teams based in Dubai, London and Geneva.

Over the years, Barclays has evolved its offering in the region in response to our clients’ requirements and growing demands. At present, in addition to wealth management, Barclays operates strong Investment Banking, Corporate Banking and International Banking divisions that service the region out of the Dubai offices, while drawing on Barclays global capabilities.