With the recently assented Nairobi City County Outdoor Advertising and Signage Control and Regulation Bill 2018 by H.E Gov. Mike Sonko, what exactly does outdoor advertising laws in Kenya stipulate? Firstly, it is imperative to appreciate the fact that outdoor advertising is important both to businesses and the government as a source of revenue. In fact in some counties like Nairobi, it is among the leading sources of income. Even though advertising agencies handle most of the procedures relating to regulations and compliance when it comes to signage and billboards, that poster that hangs at the entrance of your business premise could land you into problems. Herein, I will explore some of the fundamental aspects and expectations of the outdoor advertising laws in Kenya.

What is outdoor advertising according to the law?

Before we can get a full grasp of outdoor advertising laws in Kenya, let us first explore what the term “advertising” means according to the law. The regulation defines advertisement as a notice aimed catching the attention of the public for purposes of selling products and services. Therefore directions to properties on sale, advertisements in moving vehicles or enclosed land/premises, and those relating to public institutions are some of the items excluded in the definition of outdoor advertising.

Items included in the outdoor advertising laws in Kenya

Technology is dynamic and such, new forms of outdoor advertising continue to flood the market. As such outdoor advertising laws in Kenya are constantly updated to factor in these new technologies. Nonetheless, outdoor advertising include Billboards, distributed flyers and brochures, street furniture, ads outside buses, digital signage and posters.

What are some of the requirements and licenses?

Once you have followed the guidelines to effectively design your billboard, poster or signage, it is crucial to understand the basic requirements to avoid finding yourself on the wrong side of the law. Basically the law targets to regulate advertisers, safeguard the environment and collect revenue for county governments. The consequences of not abiding to the set standards include fines and imprisonment. Additionally, law enforcers reserve the right to pull down the advertisement relating to defaulting agencies and persons. Most importantly, advertisers need a licence from their respective county governments. The application of these licences is accompanied by a statutory fees, and a consent from relevant bodies e.g. The Kenya National Highways Authority. Moreover advertisers should produce the layout of the area of placement including a detailed plan of the building or structure.

What Authorities look for before issuing of licences

Before approval, the county government ensures that the advertisement will not obstruct or obscure road or rail users, as well as block important safety signs. Furthermore, according to outdoor advertising laws in Kenya, these adverts should not block out government surveillance apparatus and other pre-existing advertising material. Also, billboards and other forms of outdoor adverts should not compromise on the structural design of buildings. The environment is also protected where these collateral should not result in cutting down of trees among other environmental hazards.