The current global financial crisis, which began with the downturn of the U.S.
subprime housing market in 2007, is testing the ability of the International Monetary Fund
(IMF), in its role as the central international institution for oversight of the global
monetary system. Though the IMF is unlikely to lend to the developed countries most
affected by the crisis and must compete with other international financial institutions1 as
a source of ideas and global macroeconomic policy coordination, the spillover effects of
the crisis on emerging and less-developed economies gives the IMF an opportunity to
reassert its role in the international economy on two key dimensions of the global
financial crisis: (1) immediate crisis management and (2) long-term systemic reform of
the international financial system.