While the Western financial crisis is expected to drag on to the end of this decade, average economic growth in the GCC  will reach the double-digit mark by 2020 helped by higher oil revenues  and sound economic policies, according to Dr Talal Abu-Ghazaleh, founder and CEO of education and professional services firm Talal Abu-Ghazaleh (TAG-Org) Organization.
Speaking at a press conference in Muscat on Wednesday, Dr Abu-Ghazaleh warned that the Western financial crisis  is not over yet and is only going to worsen in the future.
Expressing confidence in the economies of the region, he said, "Gulf countries are very safe and isolated from the problems in the West. The GCC economies  are based on sound policies, which were made possible by oil revenues. The rate of growth in the GCC  will increase by one percentage point every year until it reaches double digits by 2020. In the Gulf states there is prosperity and there is growth."
Dr Abu-Ghazaleh added that the GCC leadership has learned lessons from the collapse of investments in the West and now pursues more sound policies, instead of just keeping investments in funds and money deposits with financial institutions.
"The crisis in the West is not yet over and I do not expect it to end before the end of this decade. I do not believe reports and news that say the West is emerging from the crisis. On the contrary, I believe that before the end of this year we are going to see a major financial crisis in Italy, which is one of the largest economies in the European Union. When Italy is impacted it will affect all the European economies and this will lead to another major crisis in the continent."
"You will see the major European countries, including France, burdened with issues of increasing deficit, debt and rising unemployment. These Western countries will need to restructure their entire economies because their problems cannot be solved by borrowing more," he said.
"I am very confident about GCC countries and we will be investing more in the region," Dr Abu-Ghazaleh added.