Harper arrived in the Senegalese capital of Dakar and will remain in the country until leaving for Kinshasa on Friday.
His activities in Senegal include a visit to a trade school and a meeting with the country's president.
Harper will be joined at la Francophonie by two federal ministers as well as Quebec Premier Pauline Marois and New Bruswick Premier David Alward.
Harper and the newly elected Marois are scheduled to have a private meeting on Saturday morning before the summit officially kicks off.
The summit ends Sunday and Harper will return to Ottawa on Monday.