Of the 27 finalists, six are from Kenya and five from South Africa.
The competition, now in its 18th year, received entries from 42 countries across the continent.
Announcing the finalists, chairperson of the independent judging panel Ferial Haffajee said: “A tough table of judges was often visibly impressed by the range of stories presented to us. African journalists, as represented by our entries, have risen to the challenge of 2012.
“The big stories were well-covered. The small stories were not forgotten. We commend the dedication of journalists who are very much part of a rising Africa with rising professionalism, increased appetite for tough and investigative journalism, an eye on those left behind and a deep commitment to telling good stories across many mediums.”
The winners of the competition will be announced at an awards ceremony and gala evening in Cape Town, South Africa, on October 12, hosted by CNN International’s Isha Sesay.