Berkshire Hathaway 2013 Annual Meeting Audience Question # 63

Warren is open to the idea of investing in sub-Saharan Africa

Warren Buffett:

OK. Section 4.

Audience Member:

Good afternoon. My name is Jerry Lucas from Newark, Delaware.

You answered the question earlier about emerging markets. I just have a similar question.
If you found the business that attracted you in sub-Saharan Africa, outside of South Africa, are the conditions right today to make that investment?

Warren Buffett:

Well, I might not know enough to do it myself, but I think… and I wouldn’t rule… if it was attractive enough and I thought I understood the nature of the business, I would probably get some advice from some other people. And I might not end up doing it, but I wouldn’t totally preclude it.

Charlie Munger:

I saw that done. The University of Michigan hired an investment manager in London who specialized in sub-Saharan Africa. And I thought, “My God, how are they doing this?”

What they did is the little banks would trade in the pink sheets in Africa, and the first thing people would want was not to have the money under their pillow, and they just bought all the little banks in Africa, and they made a lot of money.

So it is possible, if you know what you’re doing, to go into very unlikely places. I would say we’re not very good at it.

Warren Buffett:

No, that isn’t our specialty, but it can be done. And if we were poor enough, we might even be thinking about doing it, right, Charlie?

Charlie Munger:

I don’t think so.

Warren Buffett:

OK.

Next year we’ll prepare for this.

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