It is an administrative centre and the headquarters of Mombasa County with the county offices located in the towns centre. Some embassies have branch offices in Mombasa town.
Mombasa is an industrial centre and the main industries found in Mombasa include ship repairing , vehicle assembly , oil refining, cement manufacturing, textile manufacturing, light engineering, fish processing and glue making.
It is a residential centre as the town has a population of more than half a million residents. Nyali, likoni and changamwe are the main residential areas outside of Mombasa Town Island.
Mombasa is a centre of tourism with modern tourist hotels like white sands and Serena hotels, warm sandy beaches and historical sites like fort Jesus and the old Mombasa town. This attracts many foreign and local tourists to the city.
It is a transport and communication centre .a railway line and roads link the island with the hinterland. The moi international airport is also located in Mombasa. It serves tourists and other people who visit the coast. There are also various communication facilities and stations in Mombasa, for example radio and television stations and post offices. A landing station has been built in Mombasa for the fibre optic cable which will provide intent services to the east African region.
It is a sea port and its growth has been mainly related to its function as a seaport. It serves a wide hinterland which includes the rest of Kenya, Uganda, southern Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi and eastern part of democratic republic of Congo. Mombasa is also a pot of call for ships going to other destinations. The ships get a fresh supply of food water and other basic commodities and services.
Mombasa is a defense centre as it is the headquarter of the Kenya navy. It therefore has a defense function. There are also several military barracks in Mombasa.
It is also a major education centre as the town has many primary schools and secondary schools and tertiary schools .Mombasa polytechnic was upgraded to a university and it also hosts several university campuses such as Kenyatta University and the Jomo Kenyatta University.