Sentiment Analysis to inform about the SDGs: Immigration in Colombia and Costa Rica

“Our analysis shows that the most pressing issues that are facing immigrants in Colombia and Costa Rica include human rights violation, security and poverty problems and non-employment for immigrants as well as for citizens”.

Clément Abiodoun Hounkpevi

January 21, 2020

In this paper, we present the use of Sentiment Analysis in implementing SDGs through a use case which addresses the problem of immigration in Colombia and in Costa Rica. For this purpose, we have proposed a new Machine Learning (ML) based Sentiment Analysis approach on data related to immigration in these two countries, collected from Twitter. 

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted by world leaders in 2015, committed countries to mobilize efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change by 2030, while ensuring that no one is left behind. Monitoring the SDGs is central to making progress in their implementation. However, the implementation of the SDGs needs a lot of concentrated effort, posing many challenges. 

The biggest challenge in the implementation is the lack of critical data (information) for global, regional and national development policymaking. Many governments still do not have access to adequate data on their entire populations.

On the other hand, Sentiment Analysis is a data analysis based on decision making techniques, which measures the inclination of people’s opinions through Natural Language Processing (NLP), computational linguistics and text analysis. This technique is used to extract and analyze subjective information from the Web, mostly social media and similar sources. Due that social media in one of the biggest sources of data, this document explores how Sentiment Analysis on social media data can contribute to the implementation of the SDGs.

Use case: Immigration in Colombia and Costa Rica – Sentiment Analysis approach

The topic of immigration has always surfaced as a priority and a concern for many countries across the globe. Immigration is described as the movement from one’s country to another where you don’t possess citizenship. It can either be legal or illegal depending on the channels one has gone through to migrate. It can contribute hugely to the ever-expanding diversity and economy of any given country. Immigration reforms are crucial since they can help a country move towards a unified nation. Immigration is termed as a key factor in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as it is a “… powerful poverty reduction tool, which can contribute to the achievement of all SDGs”. 

The contribution of migration to sustainable development is recognized by the UN through the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 10 out of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) contain targets and indicators that are relevant to migration, the Agenda’s core principle being to “leave no one behind”, including migrants. 

A lot of research has been done in this context, informing about migration in Costa Rica and in Colombia. However, none specifies the different issues that are facing immigrants in these two countries. This study case has been performed to help solve the previous insufficiency through a Twitter opinion based Sentiment Analysis approach.


The size of the extracted data in Colombia is almost five times the one for Costa Rica, clearly implying that only a few people in Costa Rica are expressing their views and opinions via twitter.

From the different analysis done, the most pressing issues that need to be addressed are human rights, security, banking, births, and employment among others.

Immigrants in Costa Rica and Colombia are more concerned about the violation of their rights including security and poverty. Reducing integration obstacles, needs to be the priority, since inclusive integration is the concern of all immigrants.

About the author

Clément Abiodoun Hounkpevi is a computer and telecommunications engineer. After graduating with a Master’s degree in Computer and Telecommunications Engineering from the Ecole Polytechnique d’Abomey-Calavi (EPAC) in Benin, he was admitted to the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) in Senegal where he took courses to become a Data Scientist. Working on several projects to reach his goals, Clément is dreaming to become a leading expert in the field of Big Data Analytics and IT. Hard working and honest individual, he is a good timekeeper, always willing to learn new skills. Friendly, helpful and polite with a good sense of humor, Clément is able to work independently in busy environments and also within a team setting.