Dr Thomas has a +18-year track record of outstanding performance as a senior executive, advisor on regional infrastructure and PPPs, development finance, private sector development, risk management, governance, trade and investment, and policy and capacity development in Africa with extensive knowledge of key regional economic concerns in Africa. She is currently a partner in a new enterprise, in partnership with a New York based Investment Bank, to form a joint venture - Africa Rising Capital (Pty) Ltd trading as Nova Capital Africa - providing investment banking services in South Africa and the rest of the continent.
As a Director of the NEPAD, Regional Integration (RI) and Trade Department at the African Development Bank (AfDB) in Tunisia from 2007-2008, she introduced innovative thinking into the Bank’s business on RI and regional infrastructure, including the NEPAD strategy on Development Corridors and SDIs, which still forms the basis of that department’s activities to date. She successfully managed the African Aid for Trade Meeting in Dar es Salaam in September 2007. By December 2007 she had mobilized for the NEPAD Infrastructure Project Preparation Fund (IPPF), then a USD10 million facility, an additional +USD50 million from various donors including a net income contribution from the Bank.
As the founding Chief Executive Officer of the SADC Development Finance Resource Centre (DFRC) in Gaborone, Botswana from 2003-2007, she supported efforts towards financial sector integration; built the capacity of DFIs on inter alia, corporate governance, enterprise-wide and credit risk management and financial sector reform. She supported the development of Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) in infrastructure, and strengthening DFI skills on investment appraisal and risk analysis, as well as on SMEs development and financing. From January 2002-July 2003 when seconded to the SADC Secretariat by the National Treasury she helped to manage the development of the SADC Finance and Investment Protocol, and was engaged as a Team member in developing the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan, SADC’s 15 year development strategy, authoring Chapter 5 on the sustainable financing of the RISDP.
Dr. Thomas was the first African and second woman to hold a position from 2005-2007 on the world-wide Technical Advisory Panel of the World Bank'sPublic-Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility (PPIAF). The Panel reports to PPIAF's 15 donors on the performance of the PPIAF team in facilitating private participation in infrastructure projects in developing countries.
From 1998-2001, she was Manager of the Risk Management Unit at the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA). During this period the Unit’s risk policies were a significant influential factor enabling the DBSA to obtain two international credit ratings from Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s.
She holds a Ph.D. in International Economic Law from the University of Witwatersrand; an MA in International Economics and Law from SAIS - Johns Hopkins University in Washington, D.C.; has done post-graduate studies at Harvard University, Yale Law School, the University of Cambridge in the UK, and has been awarded six scholarships for educational excellence. Dr. Thomas has authored numerous professional publications; guest lectured at numerous universities and participated in several consulting studies and conferences.